De La Salle University will march forward to its second rivalry game against Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament with a full head of steam.
Santi Santillan fronted the all-out attack as the Green Archers triumphed over very game National University, 84-75, on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Santillan showed the way with 18 points on top of five rebounds, but four other teammates were also in double-digits as they improved to 8-4 in the season.
More importantly, their win secures for them at least a playoff for a Final Four berth.
And in the immediate, they will head into the rivalry game with the Blue Eagles on Sunday as winners.
It took total team effort to do just that as it was scoring from Santillan and Justine Baltazar as well as playmaking from Andrei Caracut that turned a one-point lead into an 84-75 advantage with 54.3 ticks to go.
In the end, Baltazar had an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double while Caracut and Aljun Melecio chipped in 13 markers apiece.
It also took the entire team to slow down John Lloyd Clemente who scored 17 points in the first half and only had two the rest of the way.
Conversely, Dave Ildefonso scored all but two of his 20 points in the second half.
They were the only two Bulldogs in double-digits, however, as they are now eliminated from contention after absorbing their ninth loss in 12 games.
LA SALLE 84 – Santillan 18, Melecio 13, Caracut 13, Baltazar 11, Manuel 10, Dyke 6, Go 6, Bates 4, Serrano 3, Capacio 0, Corteza 0.
NU 77 – Ildefonso D. 20, Clemente 19, Gallego 7, Yu 7, Ildefonso S. 5, Rike 4, Gaye 4, Joson 4, Sinclair 3, Diputado 2, Malonzo 2, Aquino 0, Galinato 0, Morido 0, Salim 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 17-13, 38-40, 65-62, 84-77
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