MANILA, Philippines -- Kurt Lojera came to De La Salle University's rescue on Wednesday, after the Green Archers squandered a 14-point advantage against National University (NU) in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament.
Big shots by John Lloyd Clemente and Shaun Ildefonso helped the Bulldogs claw their way back, with the latter drilling a triple that put NU ahead, 82-81, with 25.1 seconds to go.
But the Green Archers managed to stay composed, and Aljun Melecio fired a pass to Lojera who cut baseline for the lefty jumper.
"I think we deserved this one. We worked really hard for this," said Lojera, who scored 6 points in the contest. "We go through it every day in practice, and I think we do this well enough to know that we deserved this win."
For Lojera, his go-ahead shot was not surprising, as it was something they worked on repeatedly in practice.
"We do that every day in practice, so it was just a matter of having confidence and taking it," he explained. "Just so happened I was open and Aljun made a pass."
It was a bounce-back win for the Green Archers, who had absorbed a loss from defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in their first game of the season.
Now with a 1-1 record in the season, Lojera and the Green Archers know that they still have plenty of room for improvement. They had a complete meltdown against NU's pressure in the fourth quarter, and needed a big shot to bail them out.
Coach Gian Nazario praised his players for pushing through in the end game, particularly Lojera for his clutch shot, but stressed that they need to keep working.
"One thing is just to settle down. Second is that we have to keep executing," said Nazario. "There were a couple of possessions, four straight, they were able to trap us right after we crossed the half court."
"And just like what I said, it comes to our inexperience, yeah, we'll go from there," he added.
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