De La Salle University gifted head coach Derrick Pumaren a win in his return to Taft after 30 years, outlasting University of the East, 71-66, to cap the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament opener, Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Trailing by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, Harvey Pagsanjan, Aurin Catacutan, and Clint Escamis connived for a 6-0 Red Warriors run to chip within four, 61-65, with 3:55 to go.
But Evan Nelle answered back with a floater before Schonny Winston followed it up with a triple, his first attempt from deep, to restore a nine-point lead for the Green Archers with 2:36 left, 70-61.
UE got the deficit back to within five after Jeric Villanueva and Nico Paranada's conversions, 65-70 with 1:26 remaining on the clock but they could not drain the shots that matter most down the stretch.
"Still not a nice win but we'll take it. We just have to work, work, work on our game," said Pumaren.
Two-and-through Fil-Am Winston shone in his debut for the Archers with 22 points on an efficient 8-of-14 shooting to go with six rebounds and three steals.
Justine Baltazar added 12 points and 11 rebounds, while transferee Nelle chimed in 11 points, four steals, three assists, but committed five turnovers.
Pagsanjan paced the Warriors with 13 points and six rebounds while Paranada also got the same output but went 5-of-19 from the field.
UE looks for its first win on Tuesday against Adamson University at 10 am, while La Salle aims for back-to-back wins when it meets National University at 4 pm.
La Salle 71 - Winston 22, Baltazar 12, Nelle 11, Nwankwo 10, Lojera 6, Phillips B. 4, Austria 4, Phillips M. 2, Manuel 0, Lim 0.
UE 66 - Paranada N. 13, Pagsanjan 13, Lorenzana 11, Antiporda 6, Sawat 5, Escamis 4, Villanueva 4, Tulabut 3, Paranada K. 2, Catacutan 2, Cruz J. 2, Cruz P. 1, Abatayo 0, Beltran 0.
Quarterscores: 22-15, 47-31, 60-49, 71-66.
UAAP Season 84 Men's Basketball
University of the East Red Warriors (dark) vs De La Salle University Green Archers (light)
March 26, 2022
SM Mall of Asia Arena
Photos by UAAP Season 84 Media Team. (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)