Evan Nelle La Salle Filoil

La Salle’s Evan Nelle. Photo from Filoil

MANILA, Philippines—In coach Topex Robinson’s first rivalry game, La Salle dominated archrival Ateneo with a 72-59 rout to stay unbeaten in eight games and clinch a quarterfinal berth in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Sunday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Evan Nelle and Joshua David showed the way for the Green Archers to stay on top on Group II and send the Blue Eagles to 0-3.

Nelle delivered 12 points, seven assists, and three rebounds, while Joshua David also provided the spark from the bench with 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists.”

But Robinson downplayed their lopsided win against the Tab Baldwin-coached Ateneo.

“It really doesn’t make us UAAP champion by going 8-0 and beating Ateneo. It doesn’t mean anything,” said the new La Salle coach. “But it’s always good to see our team put on the floor what we prepared for.”

Nelle ignited a 17-6 run from a 26-all deadlock in the second quarter to give La Salle a 43-32 lead with 6:46 to go in the third period.

Ateneo trimmed it to 13, 65-52, with five minutes remaining but David was quick to answer scoring five of the Green Archers’ 7-0 run to put away the game with a 72-52 margin.

“I always remind myself how grateful I am to coach De La Salle. I see in (our guards) what really kept me playing and then coaching e. It’s perseverance,” Robinson said.

Kevin Quiambao and Mark Nonoy were also instrumental as they had 11 points and six rebounds each. 

La Salle tries to sweep its group against the second-running St. Clare College of Caloocan (4-1) on May 31.

Kai Ballungay led Ateneo with 18 points and six rebounds as they remained winless in three games, seeking to bounce back against Far Eastern University on June 2.

Meanwhile, Kobe Dalisay poured in five triples to finish with 17 points as Mapua took down San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 71-61, for their second straight win.

The Cardinals rose to a 5-2 record in Group I as Warren Bonifacio contributed 12 points and five boards, while Adrian Nocum added 10 markers.

The Golden Stags dropped to a 2-5 card with Alex Desoyo leading the way with 15 points.

In the first game, Delvion Jackson had an all-around game of 16 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks, three assists, and three steals to snap University of the East’s three-game skid with a 67-59 victory over Centro Escolar University.

The Red Warriors needed to avoid a collapse as their 13-point lead dwindled to as low as four, 63-59, in the final minute before Noy Remogat, who went 10-of-11 from the line for 15 points, five dimes, and four boards, put the game on lock from the charity stripe.

UE improved to 3-4 in Group II, while CEU slid to 1-5 with Franz Diaz scoring 14 points and four rebounds.

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