De La Salle University started off its second round on a positive note after thrashing National University, 85-61, Sunday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Archers' win propelled them to third place, tied with the UST Growling Tigers at 4-4 in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament.
NU sank to a league-worst 1-7, losing its second straight outing.
Justine Baltazar submitted his greatest collegiate performance yet, ending up with 25 points and 25 rebounds.
NU scored the first basket of the game, courtesy of a 3-pointer from Dave Ildefonso, but La Salle quickly went on a 26-6 spurt and never looked back. The Green Archers lead ballooned to as much as 17 in the first with less than a minute to go and eventually went ahead by 20 at intermission, 44-24.
It was more of the same in the remainder of the game as La Salle continued to find its groove. DLSU led by as much as 24 in the third quarter, and had a 65-48 lead entering the final ten minutes of action.
NU, however, mounted a 13-2 run to trim the deficit to 13, 65-52, after a layup by John Lloyd Clemente. Aljun Melecio then responded with a booming triple to keep their opponents at bay.
Kurt Lojera then drilled a three from the left wing to increase the lead back to 20, 74-54, under five minutes left. Baltazar then made a hook shot to erect its biggest lead, 81-56.
Dave Ildefonso paced the Bulldogs' offense with 11 points, while brother Shaun added 10.
"It's just a good win for us, especially we wanted good momentum heading to Sunday's game [against Ateneo]," said La SAlle head coach Gian Nazario. "But more than that, we wanted a different approach come second round."
LA SALLE (85) -- Baltazar 25, Caracut 16, Malonzo 12, Lojera 9, Serrano 8, Melecio 6, Bates 4, Manuel 4, Hill 1, Bartlett 0, Escandor 0, Lim 0
NU (61) -- Ildefonso D 11, Ildefonso S 10, Diputado 8, Gallego 7, Clemente 5, Galinato 5, Gaye 5, Tibayan 3, Yu 3, Mangayao 2, Minerva 2, Joson 0, Malonzo 0, Oczon 0
Quarter Scores: 26-9, 44-24, 65-48- 85-61
- La Salle's 44 points in the first half is a season-high, according to league statistician Pong Ducanes. Meanwhile, NU's 24 points is the lowest output that La Salle has allowed in the first half this season.
- Encho Serrano was carried to the locker room after suffering a bad fall with 13.7 seconds left in the third quarter. Serrano landed on the foot of opposing center Issa Gaye, causing him to twist his ankle. He stayed for a considerable amount of time writhing on the floor in intense pain.
La Salle - Ateneo on October 13 at Smart-Araneta Coliseum
NU - FEU on October 9 at Smart-Araneta Coliseum