MANILA, Philippines — Evan Nelle rued his missed potential game-tying basket and La Salle’s 14-point collapse in the fourth quarter as the Green Archers failed to reach the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball Finals.
“Like Deschon (Winston) said, we had it. We fell short, we couldn’t convert, we couldn’t get stops. We f*cked up,” said Nelle after La Salle’s 78-74 loss to University of the Philippines in their do-or-die Final Four game on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
After Carl Tamayo scored a crucial and1 to put UP ahead, 76-74, with 21.5 seconds left, the transferee guard tried to equalize the match with a floater but it went off the mark as Tamayo grabbed the rebound and forged their Finals showdown with Ateneo with two free throws.
Nelle, who unleashed 26 points to beat UP last Wednesday, struggled in the game that mattered most, shooting 2-of-12 from the field with six points to go with four rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Winston carried La Salle with 26 points but the Green Archers only scored two field goals in the final seven minutes.
“Not enough. The season, it was rocky. We were good on defense but offense, we were never consistent,” Nelle said. “That’s why we had a lot of close games. We know we had them, we should’ve won this game. We have so much to learn.”
Nelle apologized to La Salle fans as they settled for bronze after reaching their first Final Four after five years.
“We’re so sorry we fell short. We’ll take this and bounce back next season,” he said.
The transferee guard will lead the Green Archers, who will no longer have seniors Justine Baltazar and Kurt Lojera in Season 85 tentatively set September this year.
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