By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers continued their revenge tour in the second round of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament after bouncing back against the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 88-79, last November 5, 2023, held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
After taking an early punch in the mouth during their loss against UP in the first round, the Green Archers made sure that they’ll pull off the bounce-back win to boost its bid for a Final Four trip.
Superstar swingman Kevin Quiambao showed why he is the leading candidate for this season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after taking over for DLSU when the resilient UP squad completed the comeback.
It was another familiar sight as the Green Archers let go of their double-digit lead after stumbling in the final quarter, allowing UP to attack their interior with little resistance.
After UP retook the lead, 74-75, off a CJ Cansino drive to the basket, Quiambao then took matters into his own hands and carried DLSU in the final crucial stretch of the game.
Quiambao activated beast mode at the most perfect time and single-handedly buried the Fighting Maroons with his personal scoring avalanche.
The versatile forward scored DLSU’s next 10 points and was manhandling every UP defender thrown at him at the post. Quiambao kicked off his scoring rally with an aggressive drive to the hole and sank several shots from the charity stripe to help his squad regain momentum.
With DLSU only holding a slim 80-77 advantage in the last two minutes of the game, Quiambao converted another clutch shot to balloon their lead to five points.
Savvy floor general Evan Nelle then put on the finishing touches for the Green Archers after draining the cold-blooded three-pointer to put DLSU in a commanding 87-79 lead with only 24 seconds remaining.
Quiambao spearheaded the DLSU win with another monster double-double performance of 22 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.
Meanwhile, Nelle, put up an all-around efficient outing and dropped 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
On the other hand, the Fighting Maroons played without their two stars Malick Diouf and JD Cagulangan who are still out due to their respective injuries.