Archers cage Tigers as Serrano, Melecio outplay UST super rookies

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Youth just got served.

The De La Salle Green Archers essayed a 92-77 masterclass over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers to close out their first-round campaign in UAAP Season 82 in resounding fashion, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Taft-based squad never looked back from an 11-9 first-quarter lead, zooming to the finish line en route to their third win in seven games.

Aljun Melecio and Encho Serrano heated up early, with the pair scoring in double figures within the first two quarters. Serrano’s twinner pushed DLSU to a 42-32 headway with 26 seconds left in the first half, wherein Melecio sizzled for 13 points.

At the start of the final frame, the Archers uncorked a telling 11-3 run to grab a 78-61 lead, creating enough separation from the pesky España-based dribblers.

Jamie Malonzo electrified the Lasallian crowd once again with a slam in the final 3:58 mark that gave the Archers an 80-63 advantage. From thereon, Melecio and Serrano took over the wheel, registering their team’s last 12 points to settle the final count.

Serrano tallied 29 points on 13-of-22 (59%) field goal shooting, while his backcourt partner Melecio finished with 26 markers, converting six of his nine attempts from the three-point line.

Malonzo chipped in 13 points, who came to a rebound short of a double-double.

While DLSU’s defense stymied UST’s sensational rookie pair of Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy, the Gian Nazario-mentored squad nearly got stung by their former ally Brent Paraiso. The former Green Archer – who sat out Season 81 to serve out a one-year residency – exploded with a career-high 22 points, hitting 9-of-11 (82%) shots from the floor.

The Archers dominated the inside scoring battle, 48-30, and bench scoring, 41-18. The green and white squad also proved deadly in transition, notching 24 fast break points compared to UST’s four.

Soulemane Chabi Yo turned in a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double for the Tigers, who finish the first round with a 4-3 win-loss card. Abando and Nonoy both scored nine points on a combined 7-of-20 shooting clip.