Melecio, La Salle still have Adamson's number in UAAP 81
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 13, 2018 06:34 PM
Aljun Melecio, yet again, came through when it mattered most for La Salle
De La Salle University has re-asserted its mastery over Adamson University now in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Battling back from a five-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation and showing heart in overtime, the Green Archers got the better of the Soaring Falcons once more, 79-78, on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
With the win, La Salle remains undefeated up against Franz Pumaren-coached Adamson – that’s seven straight wins since 2016.
More importantly, with the win, the Taft-based team bounced back into the win column now at 4-3. “After that loss, we made sure na yung errors namin last game, ma-correct agad namin,” head coach Louie Gonzalez said post-game.
It almost wasn’t meant to be as Sean Manganti put the Soaring Falcons up, 64-59, inside the last three minutes of the fourth quarter until Santi Santillan’s triple jolted life back into the Green Archers.
Still, they were down by two with under a minute remaining before Aljun Melecio’s floater over the outstretched arms of Papi Sarr tied the tally and forced overtime.
There, Santillan, Melecio, and Justine Baltazar got together for a 9-0 run and a 73-64 advantage in favor of their team. “Kahit may glitches pa rin, at least it’s good to see yung composure ng mga bata,” coach Louie said.
Adamson would not quit, however, and Manganti’s triple pulled them to within 75-77 with 18.3 ticks to go on the clock only to see Kib Montalbo make good on two free throws to push La Salle ahead by four.
Jerrick Ahanmisi hit another trey for the Soaring Falcons, but by then, only 0.5 seconds was left.
Sent to the line, Melecio missed the first three throw and intentionally muffed again on the second to just let time run out.
In the end, Melecio had 22 points on top of four rebounds and two assists while Santillan had 16 markers, nine boards, three dimes, and two blocks.
Baltazar was also a force with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks of his own to help the Green Archers take control of solo fourth in the standings.
For Adamson, Manganti topped the scoring column with 27 points and seven rebounds while Manganti had 23 markers, seven boards, and four assists to his name.
Unable to finish off their opponents in regulation and unable to finish off their rally in overtime, however, they suffered a second straight setback and now stand in a three-way tie for the league lead at 5-2.
LA SALLE 79 – Melecio 22, Santillan 16, Baltazar 16, Caracut 8, Montalbo 8, Serrano 5, Bates 2, Manuel 2, Dyke 0, Go 0.
ADAMSON 78 – Ahanmisi 27, Manganti 23, Sarr 9, Catapusan 5, Camacho 4, Lastimosa 3, Bernardo 2, Colonia 2, Espeleta 2, Magbuhos V. 1, Pingoy 0, Mojica 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 22-16, 33-32, 49-49, 64-64, 79-78
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.