Baltazar, Melecio rescue DLSU from UE’s upset ax

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 04, 2017 07:03 PM
Baltazar, Melecio rescue DLSU from UE’s upset ax
TOWER. Justine Baltazar was the man in the middle for DLSU with Ben Mbala having an off game.

Trailing in the endgame on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, it was two second-year studs who spurred De La Salle University back in front and onto another win.

Aljun Melecio and Justine Baltazar did the heavy lifting in the last two minutes and willed the Green Archers to a hardfought 77-71 victory versus University of the East.

Melecio registered the go-ahead triple, Baltazar added a few more makes for insurance, and the DLSU defense stood tall in the endgame as they improved to 4-2 in the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.

Aldin Ayo needed those two to step up as UAAP MVP Ben Mbala was going through an off game. “We didn’t play our game. There are also players who didn’t play their game so nasubukan ang depth namin,” he said.

The defending champions found themselves chasing down the Red Warriors for majority of the first to the third quarters.

The Green Archers were still trailing after Alvin Pasaol powered UE to a 71-69 lead with 3:02 remaining.

Neither Pasaol nor any of his teammates would be able to any more points, however, as Ayo’s wards clamped down on defense.

Melecio and Baltazar then took charge at the other end, scoring all but two points in DLSU’s 8-0 run to close out the contest.

Baltazar and Melecio, both heading into their second seasons with bigger responsibilities, wound up with 15 and 14 points, respectively. “Paangat lang naman nang paangat ang mga laro ng mga yan,” Ayo expressed.

Newcomer Santi Santillan posted a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double to help the defending champions keep themselves right in the thick of things. Right there with them, vying for two quarterfinals berths are Ateneo de Manila University and San Beda College.

On the other hand, UE bowed out of contention as it dropped to 2-5. The sorry loss squandered another power performance from Alvin Pasaol who had 30 points and nine rebounds.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 77 – Baltazar 15, Melecio 14, Rivero 13, Santillan 12, Mbala 9, Caracut 6, Tero 4, Tratter 4, Gonzales 0, Go 0

UE 71 – Pasaol 30, Olayon 13, Acuno 6, Maloles 5, Magbuhos 4, Conner 4, Manalang 2, Derige 2, Cruz 2, Varilla 2, Cullar 1, Bartolome 0, Abanto 0

QUARTER SCORES: 11-20, 33-31, 55-55, 77-71

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