Justine Baltazar and Michael Phillips combined for a total of 48 rebounds in De La Salle’s 85-82 win against University of the East in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Thursday, April 21.
Looking at the stats, the efforts of Baltazar and Phillips outmatched the whole Red Warriors team as far as rebounds are concerned.
Baltazar and Phillips grabbed 22 and 26 rebounds, respectively, compared to UE’s 41.
And Green Archers head coach Derrick Pumaren could not help but feel happy at be at awe at the same time for what the two big men just did.
“Well, you know in my more than 30 years of coaching this is the first time na nagkaroon ako ng two players getting more than 20 rebounds,” said Pumaren. “That’s one for books, Imma say. These two kept us in the game. They kept gettnig the rebounds that we needed.”
Pumaren pointed out that the rebounds of Baltazar and Phillips, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime, kept them within striking distance against the gutsy Warriors.
It seemed that Baltazar and Phillips never ran out of steam as the two connived in offensive rebounds which paved the way for the Archers’ putbacks and baskets down the stretch before Mark Nonoy took charge at crunch time.
“I’m happy that I have these two guys and as I’ve said, it’s one for the books. Nakita ko ngayon, 26 at 22 rebounds, that’s something. Wala pa atang nakakagawa non dito,” added the two-time UAAP champion coach with a chuckle.
Per league statistician Pong Ducanes, Phillips made the most rebounds so far since Ange Kouame grabbed 27 in Ateneo’s 82-62 win against Far Eastern University last October 20, 2018.
The feat also marked the first time that two teammates produced more than 20 rebounds in a game since the computerization of stats in 2003.
Moreover, out of the 40 games so far in Season 84, there were only 11 times a team outrebounded Phillips and Baltazar’s combined 48.
Both big men, however, downplayed their monstrous efforts despite finishing with 12 and 14 points, respectively.
“Sa akin naman po kahit masama yung start namin, tiniyak ko ipakita ‘yong Animo spirit towards the end,” said Phillips. “UE really put up a good fight and my regards with that to them because they really stuck in to the whole time.
“Gusto ko lang matulungan ‘yong mga kasama ko dito sa team. I really just wanted to give it to them and make their lives easier. It was really a team effort today and I’m glad we really pulled it out,” added the 6-foot-8 Filipino-American.