For the past three or so days, the DLSU Green Archers heard it from all corners.
From the UP Fighting Maroons, who dealt them an L in Game 1 no other UAAP finalist has ever gotten.
From the UP faithful, who were over the moon and let their Lasallian friends know it.
From the Lasallian community, who looked forward to Game 2 but had some qualms with Game 1.
From the Ateneans, who could only watch from the sidelines.
And yes, even from those who were still looking to get their Starbucks.
So it’s no surprise that the Green Archers came into Game 2 with the energy of 16 pissed off players, something La Salle head coach Topex Robinson and Joshua David would confirm after the game.
DLSU dove for the ball and put back shots with authority. Heck, they even gave some of that physicality back to Fighting Maroons.
That Kevin Quiambao dunk may have been the spark, as the Green Archers were actually down 12-2 earlier in the game. La Salle looked a bit disjointed on offense as they were teetering towards individual play. Maybe they just needed their most selfless and the league’s most valuable player to send a message.
All that pushing, shoving, and scoring throughout the game ended up sparking a 10-1 run in the second quarter that helped give DLSU a 44-38 lead at halftime. While UP would threaten them at certain points in the game, the Green Archers would never yield to the Fighting Maroons in the end, taking an 82-60 win over UP. The rebounding, assists, and 3-point shooting, factors that the Fighting Maroons used to put a beatdown on La Salle, were what DLSU used to exact revenge on UP. It was truly a balanced attack as the Green Archers’ best players in Quiambao and Evan Nelle were not even among La Salle’s top three scorers. Moreover, DLSU wasn’t afraid to stand up to the Fighting Maroons’ efforts to get into their head, except for a few moments. Although we can agree that the game was out of reach by then.
The UP crowd will always pour their hearts out, but the DLSU crowd was the team’s sixth man in Game 2. There was a different energy in the air, partly because Lasallians were waiting six long years to earn a victory in the UAAP Finals, but also because there was that pent-up energy from being on the wrong end of the last finals game.
Now, the series is tied and the championship will be decided with one final game. Normally, people would call tussles like this a chess match, but it’s been a slugfest. The Fighting Maroons decided to strike first and strike hard in Game 1 and they certainly caught the Green Archers at the best possible time. La Salle responded in Game 2 by fighting fire with fire, reminding UP that this is a series and not a cakewalk. That being said, it’s onto Game 3.
The DLSU Green Archers heard all the noise and channeled it into a resounding Game 2 victory over the UP Fighting Maroons. Don’t let the lopsided wins from both sides fool you; this has been a great series from both sides. Game 3 should definitely provide a great conclusion.