The DLSU Green Archers defeated UP 82-79 on opening day of the FilOil Flying-V Preseason Cup last Saturday.
Third-year player Justine Baltazar led the team with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Incoming rookie Taane Samuel added 12 markers and 7 boards.
Parading an intact core plus the addition of Bright Akhuetie, the Fighting Maroons came into this game as the favorite. But despite the heavy losses in personnel, La Salle proved that they still have what it takes to compete in this year’s collegiate basketball wars.
In their first televised game under new head coach Louie Gonzalez, it was nice to see a lot of fluidity in their offense. There was a lot of ball movement, less dribbling and everyone on the floor got their fair share of opportunities to score. This year’s team has no ball-dominant player so it was nice to see everyone contributing significantly on both ends.
The defensive intensity was there but still needs improvement especially on the perimeter as UP had so many converted threes that enabled them to keep the game close. Minimizing turnovers and forced shots particularly during crunch time situations is something they also need to work on.
The highlight of this game was the team showcasing its new frontline of 6’7 Baltazar, 6’8 Samuel and 6’9 Brandon Bates. This triple tower combination did a lot of damage inside and made it difficult for the UP bigs, particularly Akhuetie to score. All three were aggressive and can keep in step with the guards in transition. Their combined efforts can surely help fill in that huge hole left by Ben Mbala.
Overall, it was good outing for the team. There will surely be struggles and losses will happen but what is important is for them to adjust to the new system and further improve their conditioning and individual skills as this tournament progresses.
The Green Archers will take on the Gilas Cadets squad this coming Friday at 6:30pm.
DLSU 82 – Baltazar 16, Samuel 12, Caracut 11, Santillan 9, Montalbo 9, Bates 9, Melecio 8, Corteza 4, Go 3, Dyke 1, Capacio 0.
UP 79 – Gomez de Liano Ju. 21, Dario 16, Akhuetie 12, Desiderio 9, Vito 8, Gomez de Liano Ja. 15, Jaboneta 3, Manzo 2, Murell 1, Prado 0, Tungcab 0, Gozum 0, Lim 0.
Quarterscores: 20-15, 36-36, 58-52, 82-79.