In the zone DLSZ puts an end to NU’s season sweep

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 26, 2016 05:02 PM
In the zone DLSZ puts an end to NU’s season sweep
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. Marco Sario, MR Romero, and the rest of DLSZ were more than ready to reinforce season MVP Aljun Melecio.

n a perfect followthrough of Aljun Melecio’s earlier gesture, De La Salle Zobel proved on Friday at the San Juan Arena that they are more than just a one-man team.

Melecio made the plays, Marco Sario made the shots, and the Junior Archers made their zone defense work all game long for a 71-60 decision over Nazareth School of National University.

“Diba nga, anything is possible,” a proud coach Boris Aldeguer said after his boys dealt the Bullpups their first defeat in the 78th Season of the UAAP Juniors Basketball Tournament. More importantly, the win ruined NU’s perfect season and extended the Finals series to a third game.

Unlike their last three meetings where they got pounded on by an average of 22 points, the Junior Archers did not allow their opponents to impose their will and finished the first half dead even with NU at 30. It was at that point that Melecio ignited a personal 5-0 blast to start the second half.

The season MVP then collected a couple of assists which Sario converted to back-to-back triples that all of a sudden pushed DLSZ in front, 41-32. Momentum would not leave the green side from that point as they downed the Bullpups for the first time in four tries.

Prior to the game, Melecio was officially named season MVP and called all of his teammates to share the stage with him in accepting the award. The team effort led by the season MVP only continued throughout the contest as he wound up with nine assists – only five less than what all of the NU players mustered.

The balanced attack was complemented by a disciplined defense that limited the Bullpups’ size advantage. Justine Baltazar still had 15 points and 20 rebounds, but his team only had a 28-20 advantage in terms of inside points.

John Lloyd Clemente was the lone thorn on the side of the Junior Archers as he scored 25 points and let NU still threaten at 60-67 inside the last two minutes.

Their second perfect season in the past three years is no longer a possibility, but the Bullpups remain one win away from the championship. They try again next Friday at the San Juan Arena.

BOX SCORES

DLSZ 71 – Sario 16, Melecio 14, Romero 14, Fortuna 8, Mariano 6, Sobrevega 5, Tongco 4, Paraiso 2, Cabarrus 2, Salafranca 0

NU 60 – Clemente 25, Baltazar 15, Amsali 7, Penano 4, Coyoca 4, Atienza 2, Sarip 2, Jugar 1, Tolentino 0, Callejo 0, Manalang 0

QUARTER SCORES: 14-17, 30-30, 57-51, 71-60

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