UAAP: La Salle picks good time to beat UP this season

La Salle's Evan Nelle. UAAP PHOTO

La Salle’s Evan Nelle. UAAP PHOTO

The principal factor University of the Philippines (UP) gained from its beautiful upset of Ateneo not too long ago was the arrogance that the Maroons might deal with the Blue Eagles within the championship.

Now, if solely UP can really get there.

La Salle’s on-target Green Archers threatened to destroy a extremely anticipated showdown for the title after they compelled the Maroons to money of their twice-to-beat chip with an 83-80 victory on Wednesday within the UAAP Season 84 males’s basketball event semifinals at Mall of Asia Arena.

“I think we played strong for 40 minutes; that’s what I was asking [of the Archers],” mentioned La Salle coach Derick Pumaren. “It was a total team effort.”

La Salle’s victory despatched its half of the Final Four to a deciding match on Friday.

Still a superpower

The winner advances to play within the Finals in opposition to the defending champions.

And make no mistake about it, Ateneo continues to be very a lot a league superpower that may not be denied of a fifth straight championship look.

Far Eastern University (FEU) discovered that out the arduous method later within the evening.

Sizing up the Tamaraws’ run-and-gun fashion only for a couple of minutes, the Eagles in a short time swooped in with the identical systematic, multitiered assault that produced 39 straight victories and three consecutive collegiate titles, hardly exhibiting indicators of getting that streak stopped not too long ago and cracks of their armor uncovered.

Positives from a loss

“Psychologically speaking, we handled it extremely well,” mentioned Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin following their 85-72 conquest of the Tamaraws.

“[The loss to UP] has tremendous amount of positive things, too, and that’s what we focused on with the only game that mattered (against FEU). Now we are in pursuit of the championship,” added Baldwin of their sixteenth Finals look.

The Maroons seemed like a worthy impediment to that pursuit after a shocking victory over the Eagles. Now, they may not even be pace bumps after the Archers rose to the event behind guard Evan Nelle.

“We managed to dictate the pace and set the tempo,” mentioned Nelle, a La Salle rookie who nevertheless has expertise in huge moments after taking part in within the NCAA Finals for San Beda.

“We really took control and that’s what I had in mind,” added Nelle, who had a career-high 26 factors to steer La Salle, which misplaced its two video games in opposition to UP within the elimination spherical.

Strong begin

FEU began sturdy and scored the primary six factors of the sport, earlier than holding Ateneo right down to a impasse at 16 on the finish of the primary interval.

But Chris Koon transformed a three-point play for a 22-18 lead that swelled from then on. The Eagles scored 33 factors within the second quarter alone, matching the Tamaraws’ output for the half that ended at 49-33.

“I [give it] to my ball handlers who handled the pressure and my big men who released the pressure; they are such intelligent, receptive players,” mentioned Baldwin.

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