MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Green Archers avenged a heartbreaking UAAP Season 82 first-round loss to the UE Red Warriors with a 65-59 win in their men's basketball rematch at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, October 16.
With the win, the Archers entered a three-way tie with FEU and UST for 3rd place in the season standings while UE got pushed nearer the brink of elimination with a 3-8 card.
Justine Baltazar powered the Green Archers in the crucial win with a monset double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds.
"We were lucky that we were able to pull through," said La Salle coach Gian Nazario, noting that 7 of his players, including Baltazar, suffered from flu prior to the game.
"We’re happy that we were able to pull this win out. We really needed this one."
Off 3 straight grind-out quarters, La Salle finally created much-needed separation late in the 4th with a five-point lead, 57-52, after a Jamie Malonzo tip-in.
Although UE got within one, 57-58, with less than two minutes left off an Alex Diakhite layup, Malonzo immediately answered a few seconds later with a triple to force a two-possession lead, 61-57.
Both teams traded one bucket each until Diakhite fumbled the rock in the last 23 seconds, leading to Baltazar sinking the game-sealing free throws off the duty foul.
La Salle 65 – Baltazar 23, Malonzo 12, Serrano 12, Bates 9, Melecio 4, Manuel 3, Caracut 2, Cagulangan 0, Cu 0, Lim 0.
UE 59 – Suerte 17, Manalang 14, Diakhite 11, Conner 9, Mendoza 7, Apacible 1, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Camacho 0, Cruz 0, Pagsanjan 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarters: 14-13, 26-28, 42-46, 65-59.