by Neal Tieng
It’s been a fairly disappointing season so far. The string of bad games led some supporters to question whether this group of Green Archers has what it takes to bring pride and honor to the green-and-white.
Don’t tell that to Team Captain Andrei Caracut, who delivered a clutch performance that propelled the team to victory against favored Adamson. Now no one can ever question the heart of Caracut. Not after this game.
In the face of an Adamson furious comeback that saw the Falcons take the lead at 57-58 with 4:46 to go, Caracut drained two daggers beyond the three-point arc to launch that final arrow that killed the Falcons 68-61 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo last September 21, 2019.
Reeling from a very sluggish start this season, La Salle finally got a resounding W to improve their standings at 2-3 heading into the final stretch of the first round and most important of all, instill some confidence into the team after five playdates.
Like our sluggish start in Season 82, the Green Archers missed a load of buckets early in the game and trailed Adamson 3-15 after Adamson’s Jerome Lastimosa boomed home a triple with 3:26 left. But as soon as Adamson import Lenda Douanga picked up his personal foul, Justin Baltazar and his team of Archers started to dismantle Adamson’s interior one possession at a time.
Joaqui Manuel canned two triples at the start of the second quarter and Baltazar whipped another three from the top of the key to finally seize the lead for the first time 26-24 with 7:02 left. And the Falcons’ dissection was just beginning.
Baltazar continued his scoring surge inside making easy work of Adamson frontline who had found a hard time to fly without their import. Together with Brandon Bates and one-heck-of-a-reinforcement in Jaime Orme Malonzo, La Salle built their own 8-point cushion at halftime 41-33.
Baltazar was stellar the entire game and finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks while Captain Andrei Caracut provided stability when the Green Archers needed one with 15 points.
Offense was not the only story. La Salle shackled the Adamson options both inside and out. Tapping Manuel and Malonzo to shut down Adamson’s Jerick Ahanmisi was a very wise defensive move while clamping down the paint forced the Falcons to very sorry shots from the field. The tough green defense allowed only one field goal from Adamson in the final four minutes of the game.
As soon as the Green Archers gained some ground, they seek to sustain this run against highly touted UP Fighting Maroons who are yet undefeated upon the return of former LSGH star Kobe Paras. Tip-off is set on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at the MOA Arena.
ANIMO LA SALLE!