UE brings down La Salle to finally break through in UAAP 82
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 14, 2019 04:10 PM
(Photo by Arvin Lim)
University of the East’s hard work paid off at long last as it outplayed and outworked De La Salle University, 89-88, for a breakthrough win in the UAAP 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Saturday at MOA Arena.
The Red Warriors have been kicking and screaming since the start of the season, but that only led to three losses in a row.
The tides finally turned for them in this one, though, as everybody went all-out from top gun Rey Suerte to defensive specialist Neil Tolentino with the former finishing with 31 points on top of seven rebounds and three assists and the latter ending with 19 markers, and three boards.
Those two spearheaded an attack that took control of the contest in the second quarter.
And after the Green Archers fought back to even seize the lead, 85-83, in the last 13 seconds, it was again Suerte who hit a cold-blooded triple to take back the lead for his team. "Big-time players make the big-time shots," active consultant Lawrence Chongson said post-game.
Aljun Melecio had his own cold-blooded triple to put the Taft-based team on top once more, 88-86, but that also left 10.8 ticks to go on the clock for UE to make something happen.
The one-and-done forward from Cebu did just that, hitting another cold-blooded three, this one over the outstretched arms of three defenders, to seal the deal for the red and white once and for all. "One word - swerte, swerte lang," Chongson said.
Jem Cruz also had big-time contributions with 13 points and eight rebounds to help gift Chongson and head coach Bong Tan their first win.
On the other hand, La Salle dropped to 1-2 even after a 21-point, 17-rebound double-double by Justine Baltazar and a 21-marker outing by Melecio.
UE 89 - Suerte 31, Tolentino 19, Cruz 13, Pagsanjan 8, Apacible 6, Conner 4, Mendoza 4, Natividad 4, Abanto 0, Camacho 0, Diakhite 0, Sawat 0
LA SALLE 88 - Baltazar 21, Melecio 21, Caracut 16, Serrano 14, Pado 9, Lojera 3, Bartlett 2, Manuel 2, Bates 0, Hill 0
QUARTER SCORES: 28-24, 48-37, 70-63, 89-88
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