First-year NU Bulldog Troy Rike
No Taane Samuel? No problem.
Gaining the starting spot, Justine Baltazar did not disappoint, powering the De La Salle University Green Archers past the National University Bulldogs, 80-76, Wednesday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Actually, going into the game, hindi ko talaga alam ang preparation ng NU. Knowing Jamike [Jarin], alam ko marami siyang ibabato talaga. Very evident ito nung first half na nag-struggle kami. Good thing the players don’t mind what is happening,” admitted first-year Green Archers head coach Louie Gonzalez.
The third-year big man tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds. He also knocked down the biggest shot of the game.
“Start pa lang ng season, sinabi ko na sa kanya na he’ll play a big role,” disclosed Gonzalez.
With 1:25 left and NU holding a two-point edge, sophomore floor general Enzo Joson fouled Aljun Melecio as he was attempting a three-point shot. Melecio knocked down two freebies to tie the contest.
Prized recruit Troy Rike missed two free throws afterwards to give La Salle a chance to take the lead. And Baltazar made sure he wouldn’t waste the moment.
Off a timeout and with just two seconds remaining on the shot clock, the former NU Bullpup knocked down a jumper to give La Salle the lead for good.
“Sa practice, one-hundred times na namin naitakbo yun,” shared Gonzalez.
“Siguro, para sa amin talaga ito. Ginawa lang namin yung pinapagawa ni coach,” added Baltazar.
NU’s youth showed up as Joson panicked on the inbound, committing a five-second infraction. Andrei Caracut then made two free throws to close out the game.
Melecio played a huge part in La Salle’s fightback, scoring 19 points. Santi Santillan had 10 points and nine rebounds, while Jollo Go added 10 points as well from off-the-bench duties.
Samuel missed his game due to a stress fracture on his right knee.
Both teams are now 1-1 in the standings. Moreover, Bulldogs head coach Jamike Jarin has yet to win against the Green Archers in three tries.
Rookie Dave Ildefonso continued his hot start, leading NU with 16 points. Rike’s 16-point, six-rebound outing also went to waste.
La Salle take on the University of the East Red Warriors on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. NU, on the other hand, will next face the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles on Saturday, September 22, at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
DLSU 80 – Melecio 19, Baltazar 17, Santillan 10, Go 10, Manuel 7, Caracut 6, Montalbo 4, Bates 4, Dyke 2, Serrano 1, Corteza 0
NU 76 – Ildefonso D 16, Rike 15, Clemente 12, Ildefonso S 9, Joson 8, Gaye 8, Diputado 2, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Galinato 2, Yu 0, Aquino 0, Tibayan 0, Malonzo 0
Quarterscores: 16-25, 35-38, 65-59, 80-76
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