Fresh from their escape win over the UST Tigers last Thursday, the Green Archers displayed its deadliest form and tamed the NU Bulldogs, 93-69, en route to their third straight victory in UAAP Season 71. The 24-point spread is the biggest winning margin so far this season.
And this time, it was Peejay Barua who re-introduce himself to UAAP followers.
Following the spectacular standout performances of fellow Green Archers Casio, Mangahas and Malabes in DLSU’s first two wins, Barua scored a career-high 26 points highlighted by a 06 of 8 shooting from the three-point territory. The three-year veteran also had 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
The Green Archers were off to a shaky start as the Bulldogs raced to an early 7-0 lead in the opening quarter, forcing Coach Franz Pumaren to push the time out button earlier than usual. Even as the Green Archers finally found its bearing after the timeout, they were still being outplayed and outran by the Bulldogs, who scored 6 points on fastbreak in the first ten minutes of play. But a blitzkrieg of three successive triples from Barua in the final two minutes of the quarter pushed De La Salle to within only 2 points of NU, 22-24, at the end of the first.
The second quarter saw the highly vaunted De La Salle pressure defense at work. The NU bulldogs were held scoreless in the first four minutes, and were limited to only 12 points for the entire quarter. While their opponent’s offense took a nose dive, the defending champions had its offensive game going. Barua was virtually unstoppable as he buried two more triples in the quarter. Buoyed up by Barua’s nearly flawless three-point shooting, De La Salle main man Rico Maierhofer added in two unexpected treys to the delight of the Green and White gallery. The first half ended with the Green Archers leading by 10, 46-36.
And the defending champions never looked back.
De La Salle’s unrelenting defense continued in the 3rd canto as the Bulldogs were again held to a measly 12-point quarter production compared to the 24 points of DLSU, capped by Barua’s quarter-ending three point shot, his sixth in the ballgame.
With the help of former NU Bullpup MJ Mendoza, who sank 3 consecutive baskets midway in the final quarter, the Green Archers zoomed to their highest lead of the game at 30 points, 82-52, 5:51 left in the game clock.
The Green Archers’ victory was almost marred by a slight scuffle involving NU stalwart Edwin Asoro and De La Salle rookie David Webb late in the final quarter.
With the win, the De La Salle Green Archers take solo second spot at 3-1, half a game behind current league-leader Ateneo Blue Eagles. NU absorbed its fourth loss in as many games. The Green Archers’ next assignment is on Thursday against the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
GAME NOTES: As the Green Archers erected a 30-point lead, Coach Pumaren fielded in an all-rookie lineup with more than five minutes remaining in the game. The game saw the debut of the only rookie yet to see action for De La Salle, Fil-Indian Basketball League MVP and former De La Salle Zobel standout, Manoj Chandumal. Coach Pumaren also fielded in sophomore Rejan Lee for his debut performance this season.
After the NU Bulldogs finished singing their school hymn, the Green and White gallery chanted “Happy Birthday” to Simon David Atkins, who turned 20 that day.
DLSU 93 – Barua 26, Maierhofer 16, Villanueva 8, Mendoza 8, Mangahas 8, Batricevic 5, Webb 4, Casio 4, Walsham 3, Chandumal 3, Bagatsing 3, Lee 3, Ferdinand 2, Revilla 0, Malabes 0, Atkins 0
NU 69 – Asoro 14, Jahnke 13, Berry 8, Baloran 8, Aguilar 6. Catamora 6, Batac 5, Garcia 4, Galapon 3, Ponferrada 2, Tungkul 0, Magat 0, Fabula 0, De La Cruz 0, Luy 0
Quarter Scores: 22-24; 46-36, 70-48, 93-69