DE LA SALLE University overcame an extended second set to score a 25-18, 33-31, 25-22 sweep of Ateneo de Manila University for its second consecutive win in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday night.
After taking the first set with ease, the Green Spikers banked on the Blue Eagles’ late errors to turn a 30-31 disadvantage to a slim 32-31 edge in the extended second set before BJ Anima blocked Charles Absin to give La salle a two-to-nothing advantage.
“Ayun nga, ang isa sa motivation talaga namin is makabawi naman kahit papaano. For the past years, sa lahat ng tournaments na nakakatapat namin sila, talagang hindi kami nananalo kaya sabi ko sa boys isang motivation yun para makabawi,” said De La Salle head coach Arnold Laniog.
Ateneo threatened to send the game to a fourth set after Ken Batas and Leinuel Crisostomo handed the Blue Eagles a 21-19 advantage in the third. However, the lead was short-lived as JM Ronquillo and Vince Maglinao sparked a 3-0 run that put the Green Spikers ahead by one point.
Batas converted a cross-court hit to lock the scores at 22-all but Maglinao and Anima answered with a cross-court and quick, respectively, to push La Salle at match point. Jian Salarzon’s attack sailed out in the following play which ended the game.
“Yung kabila naman in fairness kahit yung compositiong ng team nila is very young talaga, pero laban pa rin kasi last tournament sa V-League hindi kami nanalo sa kanila e. So isa sa motivation yun,” added Laniog.
Noel Kampton top-scored for the Green Spikers with a game-high 17 points on 14 attacks, two blocks, and an ace along with 15 excellent receptions in an hour and 34 minutes of play.
Anima had 13 points on 10 points and three blocks while Ronqullo added 13 as well. Vince Maglinao had an all-around outing with 11 points, 18 excellent receptions, and seven excellent digs in La Salle’s second consecutive win.
The Green Spikers forced a four-way tie with Far Eastern University, University of Sto. Tomas, and University of the East at the second spot with identical 2-1 records.
On the other hand, Batas paced the 1-2 Blue Eagles with 13 points while Llenos had 10 markers, 11 receptions, and six digs.
La Salle will face UE on Wednesday at 2:00 pm while Ateneo will go up against FEU later that day at 4:00 PM at the Philsports Arena.