Andrei Caracut's clutch 3-point shots lifted the De La Salle Green Archers to a 68-61 victory over the Adamson Soaring Falcons Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Green Archers put a stop to their two-game skid and notched their second win in five games while the Soaring Falcons fell to a 3-3 record.
With the score tied at 58 in the last three minutes, Aljun Melecio hit a baseline basket to put La Salle ahead. Caracut knocked down a triple with 58 seconds left, but Val Chauca got fouled from the 3-point area and nailed all free throws to keep it close.
Caracut launched another shot from long range to give the Green Archers a five-point advantage, 66-61, at the 28-second mark. Adamson muffed its next possession as Chauca threw away an inbound pass meant for Lenda Dounga under the rim. Melecio and Caracut sealed the deal with splits from the line.
"We're lucky that we were able to get this win," said DLSU head coach Gian Nazario. "It's been tough for us. We really felt the pressure as a team, coaching staff, players, everyone in the team. Thank you, Andrei, for your 3-point shots."
Caracut finished with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field. Justine Baltazar emerged as the top scorer with 21 points including 15 in the first half, to go with 14 rebounds and two blocks. Jamie Malonzo also had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
After a slow start that saw them trailing by 12 points, the Archers came out firing in the second quarter. They outscored the Falcons, 26-12, to head into the halftime break with a 41-33 edge.
Adamson managed to steal the lead towards the end of the third quarter but La Salle regained control early in the fourth. Chauca and Simon Camacho conspired to bring the Falcons back ahead before Malonzo tied it again at 58-all with a free throw. This paved the way for Caracut and Melecio to take charge in the endgame.
"Our defense was key in the game today," said Caracut. "We were able to stop (Jerrick) Ahanmisi and Chauca. They were really the ones keeping Adamson alive."
Chauca and Ahanmisi paced the Falcons in the loss with 13 points apiece, while Camacho added 12 points.
DLSU (68) -- Baltazar 21, Caracut 15, Malonzo 12, Manuel 6, Lojera 5, Melecio 4, Bates 3, Bartlett 2, Cagulangan 0, Cu 0, Meeker 0, Pado 0, Serrano 0.
AdU (61) -- Ahanmisi 13, Chauca 13, Camacho 12, Mojica 9, Douanga 7, Lastimosa 3, Fermin 2, Zaldivar 2, Bernardo 0, Flowers 0, Magbuhos 0, Manlapaz 0, Yerro 0.
Quarterscores: 15-21, 41-32, 52-49, 68-61
- Andrei Caracut was 0-for-4 from the 3-point range before his crucial back-to-back 3s in the final minute.
- Lenda Douanga only shot 5-for-14 from the free-throw line to finish with seven points alongside 14 rebounds. Adamson, as a team, also struggled with a 40 percent clip (8-for-20) from the stripe.
- La Salle completely shut the door on Adamson in the last four minutes and forty-seven seconds. Only Chauca managed to score in that stretch but he had to earn his points from the free-throw line.
DLSU - September 25 (Wednesday) vs UP at the /Mall of Asia Arena
ADU - September 28 (Saturday) vs FEU at the Mall of Asia Arena