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COMPOSURE IS KEY | Big man Baltazar leads DLSU to first win

Justine Baltazar finishing with a double-double to lead Green Archers to first win in Season 81. Dennis Acosta
By Sabrina Suarez

PASAY CITY -- De La Salle Green Archers showed the better maturity and composure to get their first win this UAAP season against the National University Bulldogs, 80-76, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bulldogs took control of the first half of the game with Troy Rike and Dave Ildefonso heading the score boards for their team with nine and eight points respectively.

Despite the weak and scattered defense, and the double-digit deficit, DLSU was able to cut down the lead of NU to just three by the end of the second quarter, 35-38.

In the latter part of the third period, the momentum switched over to La Salle as they picked up their pace and went in the paint that led them to ending the quarter with a six-point lead, 65-59.

Experience also came into the picture in the last two minutes of the game as the Green Archers emerged victorious with veteran player Justin Baltazar giving his team a two-point lead, 78-76, with a jumper with 28 seconds remaining after the Bulldogs tied the game up.

The starting center finished the game with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.

La Salle co-captain Andrei Caracut iced their team’s win with his free throws with 10.7 seconds remaining.

Rookies for both sides the court made sure to make their presence felt as the much talked about Ildefonso brothers, Dave and Shaun, contributed 16 points and four rebounds for the former and nine points and five rebounds for the latter.

As for La Salle, former Ateneo Blue Eaglet Joaqui Manuel finished with seven points and six rebounds.

The Green Archers will next face the UE Red Warriors on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City; while the Bulldogs will have their next match against the defending champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Box Scores:

DLSU (80) - Melecio 19, Baltazar 17, Go 10, Santillan 10, Manuel 7, Caracut 6, Bates 4, Montalbo 4, Dyke 2, Serrano 1, Corteza 0.

NU (76) - Ildefonso, D. 16, Rike 15, Clemente 12, Ildefonso, S. 9, Gaye 8, Joson 8, Diputado 2, Galinato 2, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Aquino 0, Malonzo 0, Tibayan 0, Yu 0.

Quarter Scores: 16-25, 35-38, 65-59, 80-76

Follow her on Twitter: @_sabrinaysabel