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Archers outlast Bulldogs in high-scoring affair

Aldin Ayo of De La Salle University during the Green Archers' game against the now Jamike Jarin-mentored NU Bulldogs | Contributed Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The hype train already caught steam a week before the tussle. Come game time, La Salle and National University delivered.

Behind Ricci Rivero, the Green Archers hacked out a 115-109 victory over the Bulldogs in Saturday’s UAAP action at the Big Dome.

For their part, the Bulldogs kept it hard for the defending champions. Led by rookie Jordan Bartlett, NU wrestled with DLSU for the lead for 14 times in the game. 

"'Di ko alam kung ano pang ilalabas ko sa bulsa ko. 'Yung change up both on offense and on defense — he had lots of misdirections. So kung kalaban mo si coach Jamike (Jarin), talagang pipigain mo 'yung utak mo eh." 

"Buti na lang kanina, 'yung mga plays na tinawag namin, na-execute nang maayos,” he added.

The Green Archers and the Bulldogs engaged in a shootout that saw the two teams combine for the highest offensive output in over a decade. NU was also in that historic 2006 feat, playing University of the Philippines.

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Jamike Jarin of the National University Bulldogs | Contributed Photo


Jarin and Ayo’s first meeting — the latest arc to their storied collegiate rivalry — saw 11 deadlocks. The game was neck-and-neck in the final minutes that the former San Beda College mentor hopes it made the fans of the two schools proud.

“Ako personally, I enjoyed the game,” Jardin, a tested UAAP deputy, said. "Just seeing our kids compete with the best college team? It was magnificent. I’m sure everybody enjoyed.”

And while he also rued that the basketball gods didn’t smile on him on Saturday, he went on to commend Ayo and the grizzled Archers.

“It was the experience down the line. Two, three minutes? One possession? it could’ve changed everything, ‘di ba? But they’ve executed. Then we weren’t able to. That was enough for them to get the win,” he said.

Prince Rivero put the Archers on top 112-107 with 25 ticks left in the game. Bulldogs’ Matt Salem had a great look to send the game to overtime, but the leather rattled out of the rim.

"Unfortunately on our end, we lost the game. But I’m proud of the boys that we really played well,” Jari said. "I’m proud of this game that these young men that we were able to compete against this basketball team.”

Ahead of their highly anticipated match, the Bulldogs coach called the Archers the “best college team right now,” to which Ayo responded.

But as far as hot takes go, it was the reigning UAAP champion tactician who made the boldest statement: A win with a team without its best player over a coach with a renowned hooping system.

“It was a good game,” Ayo said. "We showed lots of tenacity. We were resilient. The composure was there. We were able to execute our plays especially in the endgame.”

"We keep on running. Siguro kung titignan niyo yung mga nanonood kanina, para kang nanood ng Lawn Tennis. Talagang takbuhan. But we take pride in our conditioning program,” he closed.


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