Raven Cortez Elevates La Salle’s Standing in UAAP Battle for Twice-to-Beat Advantage
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle caught fire in the fourth quarter to stave off also-ran Far Eastern University, 80-70, and remain in contention for a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball Final Four on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Archers went on an 11-0 run capped by Raven Cortez’s back-to-back floaters for a 75-64 lead with 5:49 left before Francis Escandor and Kevin Quiambao made it, 80-66, with 3:19 remaining.
La Salle stayed unbeaten in the second round and extended its winning streak to seven games with a 9-3 record in third place.
The Archers shoot for a second round sweep against archrival Ateneo (7-6) in the last elimination round game on Saturday at Araneta Coliseum.
“We have to really acknowledge the effort that FEU put in this afternoon. We reminded everybody that they have zero chance of making it to the next round, but we expect that they’re gonna come out with 100% effort, which they showed,” said La Salle coach Topex Robinson.
“They really battled it out with us, kept us on our toes, kept us grounded. I’m just happy that our players really responded to the challenge of really competing against FEU, especially in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. We really locked in defensively and did what we were supposed to do in the first quarter pa lang, and again, I appreciate the effort they put in defensively.”
Cortez stepped up for the Green Archers, who missed Mike Phillips due to an ankle injury, with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Mark Nonoy had 15 points off five three-pointers.
“I’m just happy that we’re still undefeated this second round. We were able to get these wins because we stuck to the system that Coach Topex said to us. If we keep on continuing to stick to the system that Coach Topex said to us, we will able to sustain this,” said Cortez.
Quiambao, the MVP frontrunner, had 13 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, while Evan Nelle had seven points and dished out 12 assists for La Salle.
FEU dropped to a 3-10 record ahead of its duel against University of Santo Tomas (1-12) on Saturday.
Jorick Bautista led the Tamaraws with 17 points. Pat Sleat had 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Gonzales chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, while Miguel Ona also scored 10 points.
DLSU (80) – Cortez 16, Nonoy 15, Quiambao 13, Nelle 7, Escandor 7, Austria 5, Abadam 4, Nwankwo 4, Policarpio 3, Gollena 3, Manuel 3, B. Phillips 0, Macalalag 0.
FEU (70) – Bautista 17, Sleat 11, Gonzales 10, Ona 10, Competente 7, Bagunu 6, Tempra 4, Torres 2, Montemayor 2, Buenaventura 1, Faty 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18, 41-40, 62-61, 80-70