De La Salle University bounced back from a loss to open its campaign in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament by taking its frustrations out on National University, 83-82, Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum.
Justine Baltazar's game-long brilliance coupled with Kurt Lojera's game-winner proved to be the difference for the Green Archers who had to survive the Bulldogs’ 16-1 rally late in the game before scoring their first win.
Baltazar posted a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double and lifted the Taft-based team to a lead of as much as 19.
Shaun Ildefonso and John Lloyd Clemente, though, didn't quit just yet and spearheaded the 16-1 surge that erased a 14-point deficit, 66-80, and erected a one-point edge, 82-81, with 28.1 ticks to go.
Off a timeout, however, Aljun Melecio found Lojera for an open jumper from the baseline.
NU still had 14.9 seconds to tie the tally or even send the game into overtime, but Ildefonso muffed on his last triple try.
In the end, Lojera had six points while Melecio also added 10 markers and four assists.
Jamie Orme-Malonzo had his own 14 points and 11 rebounds to help gift coach Gian as well as active consultant Jermaine Byrd their first win.
On the other hand, the Bulldogs lost for the second straight time even after Ildefonso's career game of 26 points on top of five steals as well as a 19-marker outing by Clemente.
LA SALLE 83 - Baltazar 23, Malonzo 14, Melecio 10, Caracut 7, Lojera 6, Meeker 6, Serrano 6, Bates 4, Pado 4, Cagulangan 3, Cu 0, Hill 0, Manuel 0.
NU 82 - S. Ildefonso 26, Clemente 19, Gallego 12, Gaye 11, D. Ildefonso 8, Joson 2, Minerva 2, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Mangayao 0, Oczon 0, Tibayan 0, Yu 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 22-12, 42-32, 67-57, 83-82.
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