Kevin Quiambao Leads La Salle to UAAP Finals Victory After Seven Years


In a nail-biting clash at the UAAP Finals, La Salle, anchored by MVP Kevin Quiambao, triumphed over the University of the Philippines, ending a seven-year title drought with a thrilling 73-69 victory in Game 3. Despite trailing by seven points in the fourth quarter, Quiambao’s instrumental play fueled a comeback, resulting in a critical 12-2 surge that secured a slender 70-67 lead for La Salle.

The Green Archers, backed by a record crowd of 25,192 at Smart Araneta Coliseum, held their ground as Quiambao’s pivotal block on Gerry Abadiano’s layup attempt, followed by his clutch free throws, sealed the game, stifling UP’s late-game efforts.

Quiambao’s stellar performance of 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks in the UAAP Finals earned him the Finals MVP title, showcasing his prowess in the critical moments of Game 3.

Reflecting on his mindset during the intense UAAP Finals match, Quiambao emphasized leaving everything on the court, recognizing the significance of Game 3: “We had to win or go home. Despite some turnovers, I made up for it with blocks, trusted my coach, and leaned on my teammates,” he shared. The victory marked a resounding comeback for La Salle, who faced doubts during the initial rounds of the tournament.

The series had a tumultuous start with UP’s dominant 97-67 win in Game 1, but La Salle’s resilient spirit led to an 82-60 victory in Game 2, forcing a deciding Game 3 where they clinched the championship.

Coach Topex Robinson, a UAAP newcomer, expressed his gratitude and credited the team’s dedication, acknowledging the relentless efforts of the players. Robinson, aiming to stay focused on future challenges, commended UP for a competitive battle that brought out the best in his team.

Read Also: The Diverse Basketball Leagues in the Philippines

Evan Nelle, bidding farewell to his UAAP career, concluded with a championship, contributing 12 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Graduating players Mark Nonoy and Jonnel Policarpio added eight points each, while Mike Phillips secured 16 rebounds for La Salle, showcasing their dominance on the boards.

Despite UP’s valiant efforts, shooting struggles from the three-point line (1-of-17) hindered their victory. Malick Diouf’s commendable 21 points and 14 rebounds, along with Lopez’s impressive stats, couldn’t secure the crown for UP, ending their season with a runner-up finish.

The victory marks a significant milestone for La Salle, breaking a seven-year championship drought to win the UAAP Finals and establishing Quiambao as a pivotal figure in their triumphant return to UAAP men’s basketball dominance.


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