Just minutes after the opening tip-off, sophomore playmaker Simon David Atkins, suffered a head injury while trying to get a charging foul from UE’s Rudy Lingganay. Although Atkins did get the offensive foul, he hit his head hard on the floor, as the Green and White gallery watched in horror. Atkins was brought out of the playing court with a stretcher on the way to the hospital. Atkins remained conscious after the fall, but complained of blurry vision. As of press time, there were still no updates on the condition of the former Baby Archer.
Later in the first quarter, center Marko Batricevic was also taken out of the playing court and never came back after hitting a rare three-pointer. He landed hard on a rehabilitated knee. It was reported that Batricevic would be out for the season due to an ACL injury. Forward James Mangahas suffered cramps twice in the ballgame even as main gun Rico Maierhofer also got taken out of the game after he was down on the floor in the 3rd quarter.
“Today, the real UE Warriors played,” remarked UE Coach Dindo Pumaren.
It was a see-saw affair in the early part of the first quarter, with the teams even at 9-9, 2:47 in the first. Green Archer rookie LA Revilla sank a three point shot and gave De La Salle its highest lead of the ballgame at 3 points, 12-9. This lead however, would turn out to be the Green Archer’s last, as the Warriors responded with a 10-3 run anchored on back-to-back baskets from Paul Lee and back-to-back triple from James Martinez. This pushed the Warriors to a 4 point lead, 19-15 at the end of the first.
And the Warriors never looked back.
In the second quarter, the Green Archers struggled with their offense as the Season 71 runner up’s double teaming efforts was successful in denying the defending champion’s shooters of a clear look of the basket. On the other hand, the Red Warriors, reminiscent of their deadly form last season that gave them a rare 14 game sweep, pounded on the Green Archers with 4 three point conversions in the second quarter alone. As the Green Archers’ main guns got muzzled by the pesky defense of the Red Warriors, De La Salle’s rookies took up the scoring chores. Neophytes Revilla, Maui Villanueva and Hyram Bagatsing scored to keep the Warriors within striking distance at halftime, 39-31.
Casio tried to breathe life to the Green Archers’ game with a three pointer to open up the third canto. But the Recto-based squad was fully loaded after the 1st half as they mounted a 10-0 run after the Casio triple, and threatened to pull away from the Archers, 49-34, 4:23 left in the 3rd. Unfazed by the Warriors onslaught, James Mangahas led the Archers’ cause scoring 6 points towards the end of the 3rd. However, his efforts were not enough as the Warriors continued to hit the baskets. The quarter ended with the Red Warriors enjoying their highest lead of the ballgame at 16, 62-46.
Mangahas and Revilla led the defending champions in mounting their own 10-2 rally at the opening of the last quarter to move closer to the Red Warriors, 56-64 with 6:05 left in the ballgame. The Green Archers defense got to work as they limited the Warriors to only 6 points in the final quarter, but their offense was not enough as the Archers continued to struggle in scoring the much-needed points. The Archers moved to within 6 points, 62-68, courtesy of split free throws from rookies David Webb and Revilla and a lay-up from Barua 2:10 left in the ballgame. But both teams failed to score a single basket in the final two minutes, en route to the Red Warrior’s victory.
“They played good, we played bad. But we played a good game,” remarked Coach Franz Pumaren.
With the loss, the Green Archers ended their first round campaign at 5-2 win loss card, good for solo second, behind current league leaders Ateneo Blue Eagles and FEU Tamaraws. The Red Warriors, on the other hand, improved to four wins and three losses to secure solo third place, a full game behind the Green Archers.
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UE 68 – Martinez 19, Zamar 12, Thiele 11, Lee 7, Llagas 6, Reyes 4, Espiritu 4, Lingganay 3, Arellano 2, Noble 0, Etrone 0
DLSU 62 – Mangahas 14, Revilla 10, Casio 9, Villanueva 8, Barua 6, Bagatsing 4, Batricevic 3, Maierhofer 3, Walsham 2, Malabes 2, Webb 1, Atkins 0
Quarter Scores: 19-15; 39-31; 62-46; 68-62