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Archers far from finished

MANILA, Philippines — Vengeful La Salle shoved it back – hard and loud – on the University of the Philippines with an emphatic 82-60 win in Game 2 to force a winner-take-all duel in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball finals in front of 20, 863 fans yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum

The Green Archers, who absorbed the most lopsided loss in the UAAP Final Four era in the opener, 97-67, stared at a similar scenario with an early 2-12 deficit before flipping the switch in the blink of an eye to wipe the dust off the Fighting Maroons and tie the short best-of-three series at 1-1.

La Salle put the clamps on UP from there on, including a herculean effort of limiting UP to only two field goals in the second quarter, which ignited its breakaway until meeting little to no resistance heading home.

The Green Archers and the Fighting Maroons waltz it one last time for all the marbles in Game 3 this Wednesday at the same venue, where seven-peat champion National U and Santo Tomas will also duke it out in a winner-take-all setto for the women’s crown.

The Lady Bulldogs avenged their historic 76-72 loss in Game 1 with a 72-70 Game 2 win over the Growling Tigresses to stay alive and on track of extending their UAAP women’s hoop dynasty.

“Buhay pa kami. Buhay pa kami. Today’s mindset was just to stay alive, stay in the present. We don’t even think of Game 1, we don’t even think of Game 3. Our main focus is Game 2 only,” said NU mentor Aris Dimaunahan, whose crew was led by Camille Clarin (18), Karl Pingol (14) and Princess Fabruada (13).

The Green Archers did, too.

Francis Escandor (14), Joshua David (12) and CJ Austria (11) provided the spark as Mike Phillips (nine points, 13 rebounds) and Evan Nelle (four points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) were steady for La Salle, which made newly-minted MVP Kevin Quiambao a surprise anchor of its shock-trooping unit off the bench in a bold decision of Topex Robinson.

“We don’t want to end this finals right away. We just gave UP a good fight. The players really wanted it this time. These guys really played with their hearts out. They did their job and I’m happy for them,” said Robinson.

Quiambao, who had nine points, 13 rebounds and three