Rhyle Melencio came through with 18 points and 20 rebounds as De La Salle-Zobel extended its winning streak to three games following an 81-67 romp of UP Integrated School in the UAAP Season 85 high school boys’ basketball tournament Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Completing an elimination round head-to-head sweep of the Junior Fighting Maroons, the Junior Archers improved to 4-4 overall, very well within the Final Four range.
“Like what I said before, if you want to get to the Final Four, ito ang mga teams na kailangan naming talunin kasi our next game namin would be FEU,” said De La Salle-Zobel coach Boris Aldeguer.
“Had we lost this game, it would be a harder drive for us to get to the Final Four. This was an important win. A good win for us coming to our next game,” he added.
Extending his season-best double-doubles to eight, Melencio is happy that the Junior Archers are getting better at this important stretch of the season.
“Feel ko each game, lumalakas kami. Natututo kami each game. ‘Yung Round 1, kinalimutan na namin so parang nag-back to zero kami sa Round 2,” said Melencio, who also had four assists, three blocks and two steals.
Later, Kristian Porter had 18 points and 17 rebounds, while LeBron Nieto chipped in 17 points, seven boards, six assists, and four steals as Ateneo avenged its first round loss to University of the East with a 88-77 victory.
De La Salle-Zobel had a balanced offense, as Kieffer Alas and Justin San Agustin each scored 15 points, while Junjun Melecio and Charles Dimaano had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Blue Eagles, who dropped a 79-84 decision to the Junior Warriors in the first round, rose to 3-5, just a game behind the Junior Archers.
Ateneo coach Reggie Varilla was happy with the way his troops, particularly the bigs led by Porter, delivered in the fourth period after battling tooth and nail with UE in the first 30 minutes.
“Good thing, the boys responded. We were able to get some stops and convert it,” said Varilla.
The Blue Eagles went back to basics to arrest the skid.
“We went back to our roots so we could focus on what we needed to do. We played our hardest” said Porter, who also had three assists and two blocks.
Jonas Napalang had 22 points, eight boards, and six assists while Kobe Demisana chipped in 17 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four assists for UPIS, who remained tied with UE at 1-7.
Andrei de Leon paced the Junior Warriors with 23 points, seven assists, and three steals, while Vhon Roldan contributed 20 points and nine boards.