by Waylon Galvez
Games Saturday (Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City)
2 pm – UST vs UE
4 pm – Ateneo vs La Salle
De La Salle University gave former coach Aldin Ayo a sound beating as the Green Archers carved out a 99-72 win over the UST Tigers yesterday in the 81st UAAP men’s basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
DLSU center Justin Baltazar dominated the painted area as he scored a career-best 22 points aside from grabbing 10 rebounds, while guard Aljun Melecio tied a personal season-high 19 points with eight boards and three assists.
The win improved La Salle’s record to 3-2 as the Archers rebounded from a 67-61 setback to the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, while UST dropped to 1-4 to tie University of the East at the bottom of the standings.
More importantly for DLSU, the victory sets the team up for another expected exciting match against defending champion Ateneo on Saturday at the MOA Arena – almost a year after the Blue Eagles denied the Archers and Ayo of back-to-back championships.
A few months after the championship series, Ayo left La Salle as he opted to sign with the rebuilding UST.
DLSU coach Louie Gonzales commended his players for the energy and focus they showed.
“Actually, that’s the primary game plan, to play 40 minutes composed and at the highest level. Good thing, everybody contributed,” said Gonzales, who was Ayo’s assistant coach the past two seasons with the Archers and also with Letran back in 2015 when the Knights bagged the NCAA title.
Meantime, Far Eastern University rebounded from a shock loss to University of the East by downing National University, 73-68.
Coming off a 90-65 loss at the hands of the UE Red Warriors, the Tamaraws produced clutch plays to pull off the win and tie the Archers.
LA SALLE 99 – Baltazar 22, Melecio 19, Caracut 13, Santillan 11, Go 11, Serrano 10, Bates 6, Manuel 5, Dyke 2, Capacio 0, Corteza 0.
UST 72 – Subido 16, Lee 13, Huang 13, Caunan 8, Cansino 7, Cosejo 5, Marcos 3, Bataller 3, Mahinay 2, Zamora 2, Agustin 0, Ando 0.
Quarters: 28-13; 54-34; 71-51; 99-72.