Aljun Melecio's corner triple and Justine Baltazar's split from the stripe put De La Salle University on top of the University of the Philippines by four with 1:19 remaining, Wednesday at MOA Arena.
Only, miscues and mistakes by the Green Archers coupled with clutch makes by Kobe Paras and Juan Gomez de Liano turned the tide in favor of the Fighting Maroons.
Final score: 83-82 for State U.
Still, the fact of the matter is the Taft-based team turned in one of their most complete efforts, if not their most complete effort, as they tried to stop streaking UP. "Yung positive na nangyari ngayon is we played as a team. Bumigay lang kami nung patapos na, pero our effort was there throughout," Melecio said post-game.
Indeed, according to league statistician Pong Ducanes, La Salle led for 96.7 percent of the game, was tied in the tally for 2.5 percent of the game, and only trailed for 0.7 percent of the game.
Through it all, they got contributions from up and down the roster - from Melecio to Andrei Caracut, from Baltazar to Jamie Malonzo, and from Jordan Bartlett to Brandon Bates.
"Hindi lang ako yung nakakuha ng good game ngayon. As a team, okay na okay yung pinakita namin," their fourth-year scoring guard said. "May konting lapses lang talaga kami nung endgame."
Nonetheless, Melecio said he and his teammates are only taking this sorry loss as a lesson to learn. As he put it, "Of course, gusto naming manalo every game, pero may mga lapses nga lang. Kailangan lang talaga naming pagdaanan 'to."
He then continued, "Hopefully, makakatulong 'to sa amin sa susunod."
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