DLSU Seizes UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Championship in a Thrilling Finale Against UP

DLSU UAAP Season 86 Men's Basketball Championship
UAAP Photos capture the intensity and excitement of the three-game DLSU-UP showdown in the UAAP Season 86 Finals.

In an electrifying Season 86 final, De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers clinched the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball championship, edging out the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons with a 73-69 victory. The game, held on December 6, 2023, at the bustling Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, marked a momentous occasion for both teams.

For the first time since DLSU joined the UAAP in 1986, the two teams clashed in the finals, adding a historic edge to the intense competition. La Salle, marking their 10th UAAP title, broke their 7-year championship hiatus.

Meanwhile, UP, making their fourth finals appearance in five years including their own historic end to a 36-year drought with a victory in Season 84, showcased the resurgence of their basketball program, backed by alumni in the Nowhere to Go But UP Foundation.


Game 1: UP’s 30-point dominance

DLSU’s path to victory was a rollercoaster. They faced an initial setback in Game 1 on November 29, succumbing to a hefty 97-67 loss against a dominant UP at the Mall of Asia Arena. This defeat ended La Salle’s 9-game winning streak, marking the largest margin in a championship game of the Final Four era.

In an electrifying Game 1, the UP Fighting Maroons showcased their prowess, led by the dynamic duo of Francis Lopez and Harold Alarcon. The pair orchestrated a game-changing performance in the crucial third quarter, catapulting the state university squad to a decisive advantage. Their precise and energetic play shattered the equilibrium, unraveling the defense of De La Salle University (DLSU) with stunning efficiency.

The spotlight also shone brightly on Season 85 MVP Malick Diouf, who demonstrated his mastery over the game with dominant control of the boards. His presence was a fortress for the Fighting Maroons, thwarting La Salle’s advances and securing vital rebounds. The guards, JD Cagulangan and Gerry Abadiano, were not far behind, contributing significantly with their sharp playmaking and relentless defense.

Initially, DLSU matched UP’s intensity, keeping pace in a high-scoring opening quarter that promised a closely fought battle. However, as the game progressed, the top-seeded Fighting Maroons gradually exerted their superiority. Their strategic plays and cohesive teamwork slowly but inexorably widened the gap, turning the contest into a 30-point blowout that left the audience in awe.

This dominant display by Coach Goldwin Monteverde’s squad brought UP tantalizingly close to reclaiming the championship crown. Their impressive performance in Game 1 not only highlighted their skill and determination but also echoed the glory of their Season 84 triumph, which had ended a 36-year championship drought for the Diliman team. This victory set the stage for what promised to be an exhilarating championship series.


UP 97 – Alarcon 21, Lopez 15, Cagulangan 11, Abadiano 10, Torculas 9, Diouf 9, Cansino 5, Belmonte 5, Fortea 5, Felicilda 4, Pablo 3, Briones 0, Torres 0, Alter 0, Gagate 0.

La Salle 67 – M. Phillips 19, Quiambao 11, Nelle 8, Austria 6, Nonoy 5, Cortez 4, Gollena 4, Escandor 3, David 2, Policarpio 2, Abadam 2, Manuel 1, B. Phillips 0, Macalalag 0, Nwankwo 0.

Quarters: 28-24, 53-41, 77-55, 97-67.

Game highlights | Finals • Game 1: UP vs DLSU – UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball

Game 2: La Salle’s 22-point turnaround

However, La Salle made an astounding comeback in Game 2 on December 3, overpowering UP 82-60 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Game 2 of the UAAP Season 86 finals was a stunning reversal of fortunes, as the La Salle Green Archers rose to the occasion. In this pivotal matchup, they not only leveled the series against the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons but did so with an emphatic 22-point victory, rewriting the narrative of the championship.

The game began with UP’s Malick Diouf, the previous season’s MVP, initially steering the Maroons to a slender lead with his commanding presence. But the tide began to turn as DLSU’s Francis Escandor and Joshua David unleashed a barrage of three-pointers. Their sharpshooting reignited the Green Archers, who had seemed momentarily subdued after their Game 1 setback.

As the game progressed, the Archers’ resurgence became more pronounced. Their newfound rhythm and confidence were palpable, with each successful play building on the last. The team, under Coach Topex Robinson, displayed a masterclass in resilience and tactical execution, dismantling the Maroons’ defenses and disrupting their game plan.

The DLSU comeback was not just a display of skill but also a testament to their mental fortitude. They transformed the Araneta Coliseum into a cauldron of energy, with each three-pointer and defensive stop adding fuel to their fiery comeback. By the end of the game, the Archers had not only secured a victory but had also set the stage for a winner-takes-all Game 3, promising an epic finale to the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball championship.


La Salle 82 – Escandor 14, David 12, Austria 11, Quiambao 9, M. Phillips 9, Nonoy 8, Macalalag 7, Cortez 6, Nelle 4, B. Phillips 2, Manuel 0, Abadam 0, Policarpio 0.

UP 60 – Cansino 11, Diouf 11, Alarcon 10, Lopez 9, Cagulangan 6, Felicilda 6, Torculas 4, Abadiano 3, Belmonte 0, Torres 0, Alter 0, Pablo 0, Gonzales 0, Briones 0.

Quarters: 24-27, 44-38, 65-49, 82-60.

Game highlights | Finals • Game 2: DLSU vs UP – UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball

The Decisive Clash

Last night’s Game 3 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball finals was nothing short of a cinematic climax, as the La Salle Green Archers and the UP Fighting Maroons battled for supremacy. The Araneta Coliseum was the stage for this epic showdown, and it didn’t disappoint, offering a gripping narrative filled with twists and turns.

From the opening whistle, the game was a high-octane affair. DLSU, fueled by determination to end their 7-year championship drought, came out strong. The first quarter saw them take a slim lead, setting a tone of fierce competitiveness. UP, not to be outdone, surged back in the second quarter, turning a deficit into a four-point lead by halftime. The third period was a testament to UP’s resilience, as they extended their lead to three points, showcasing their strategic prowess and skill.

The fourth quarter, however, was where legends were made. UP’s Harold Alarcon made a statement with a crucial bucket, propelling the Maroons to a seven-point lead. But DLSU’s Kevin Quiambao, living up to his season MVP status, responded with a three-pointer that sparked an unforgettable comeback. This was the catalyst for a dramatic DLSU rally, characterized by precision, grit, and an unwavering belief in victory. UP, despite their valiant efforts, found themselves unable to score for a crucial six-minute stretch, during which DLSU seized control.

Evan Nelle played a pivotal role for DLSU, contributing significantly to the team’s steady advance. On the UP side, Malick Diouf fought valiantly, notching a double-double in points and rebounds, supported by the commendable efforts of Francis Lopez and Harold Alarcon.

As the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 73-69 in favor of DLSU, marking the end of a thrilling and hard-fought contest. It was a game that had everything – passion, skill, and a dramatic finish, making it a fitting end to the Season 86 Finals. This victory not only crowned DLSU as champions but also celebrated the spirit of collegiate basketball at its finest.


La Salle 73 – Quiambao 24, Nelle 12, Policarpio 8, Nonoy 8, M. Phillips 5, Macalalag 5, Escandor 4, Austria 3, David 3, Cortez 1, Manuel 0, Nwankwo 0, B. Phillips 0, Abadam 0.

UP 69 – Diouf 21, Lopez 12, Alarcon 10, Cagulangan 8, Felicilda 5, Cansino 5, Torculas 4, Abadiano 2, Torres 2, Fortea 0, Pablo 0.

Quarters: 22-21, 39-43, 55-58, 73-69.

Game highlights | Finals • Game 3: UP vs DLSU – UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball

Share the Victory!

Were you thrilled by DLSU’s remarkable win? Spread the excitement by sharing this article and celebrating the Green Archers’ triumphant journey in UAAP Season 86!

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