FilOil: Quiambao fires 21 as La Salle turns back UP


Posted at May 20 2023 09:29 PM

La Salle's Kevin Quiambao goes for a layup against UP in their 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup at the FilOil EcoOil Center, May 20, 2023. FilOil/Handout.

MANILA -- De La Salle University made an early statement in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup after getting the better of the University of the Philippines, 90-83, in a highly-entertaining contest inside the Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan, Saturday.

Kevin Quiambao did it all for the Green Archers with 21 points all from deep, seven rebounds, four assists, and a steal, while Mike Phillips recorded a 22-point, 14-rebound double-double in his first game back since helping Gilas Pilipinas win the gold medal in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

"We know that UP's one of the barometers of the UAAP. We were just excited to test where we are. It's nice to have Mike and Ben [Phillips] back in the lineup, especially for this game, but what really worked for us was we didn't give up," said head coach Topex Robinson after their fourth win in as many games.

The Fighting Maroons built an early 15-5 lead before La Salle regrouped and snatched a 53-52 advantage early in the third. The UAAP rivals went toe-to-toe from there until the Green Archers went on a 9-0 burst to mount a 73-63 lead early in the final frame.

CJ Cansino's triple brought the Maroons within three points, 80-83, inside the last two minutes until Quiambao's own trey quelled the uprising. 

A fastbreak layup from Mark Nonoy and free throws from Evan Nelle later and La Salle sealed the deal in their rise to solo first in Group II.

"We know that UP isn't complete, but for us, we'll always run our own race. It doesn't matter who we face. It's all on us," said Robinson.

UP suffered back-to-back defeats following a 3-0 start to the tournament despite 23 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block from reigning UAAP MVP Malick Diouf.

Meanwhile, St. Clare College of Caloocan claimed another UAAP victim in the form of Far Eastern University, 55-54.

With court general Jimboy Estrada fouling out with four minutes remaining, the Saints saw their four-point lead evaporate and were trailing by one, 53-54, with 34 ticks to go. Off a timeout, they lost possession of the ball only to see the Tamaraws fumble as well before finding a wide open Drick Acosta for what proved to be the difference-making short stab.

The two teams traded defensive stops from that point, and FEU still had 1.1 seconds to make something happen after Babacar Ndong missed a couple of charities. James Tempra's three-quarters heave, however, wound up just a little bit left, preserving the Saints' rise to 3-1 in Group II.

"Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila, yung mga UAAP team, kailangan talagang paghirapan. Buti ngayon, meron at meron talagang lalabas sa mga bata 'pag gagamitin ko. 'Di lang si Jimboy," said head coach Jinino Manansala.

Acosta ended with seven points and five rebounds, while Estacio stepped up for Estrada with 14 points and four assists. On the other hand, Tempra top-scored for 1-3 FEU with 11 points.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran went on a win run after weathering a late storm from Arellano University, 83-77.

Kobe Monje posted 23 points, eight rebounds, and two assists and Nicko Fajardo poured in 28 points to make sure the Knights overcame the absences of floor leaders Kurt Reyson and Pao Javillonar and march forward to a 3-1 standing in Group I of the premiere preseason tournament supported by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten.

"Unang-una, I give credit to my players. Grabe yung sakripisyo nila, especially this week. Kumbaga, death schedule namin 'to e. Salamat at nalampasan namin this week," said head coach Rensy Bajar.

The Knights endured a tough week that had the NCAA's three-peat champions playing daily in the Filoil preseason as well as the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

Tying Letran in the top-thirds of the Group I standings is Mapua University which routed College of St. Benilde, 95-78.

Five Cardinals scored in double-digits with Warren Bonifacio and Clint Escamis' 20 and 18 points, respectively. The reliable veterans also merged for 18 rebounds, 11 assists, and six steals, as they now look up only 4-1 University of Perpetual Help in the leaderboard.

"Sabi ko nga lagi sa kanila, bumalik nga si Clint sa'min, pero 'di pwedeng ibigay lahat ng load kay Clint. Kailangan laging may tumutulong sa kanya at kay Boni," said head coach Randy Alcantara.

Prince Carlos fronted the effort for the 3-2 Blazers with 17 points, while Jude Bagay steered the ship for the Chiefs with 16 points as they started the tourney with back-to-back losses.