With one minute and 20 seconds left in the game, the DLSU Green Archers were in familiar territory once again. Losing a big lead in the fourth, the resurgent AdU Falcons clawed back from a 17 point deficit and were on the verge of stealing the game and once again breaking the collective hearts of the Lasallian community. Yet this time, the Green Archers shook off their free-throw-flubber label to pull away for good with a 70-67 win over the Falcons.
“We commit mistakes in the fourth quarter which we didn’t make in the first three,” says Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler. “It’s not really mental, we just have to learn how to play for 40 minutes; learn how to play for four quarters.”
Relying on a solid effort from big men Norbert Torres, Jason Perkins, and Arnold van Opstal, the Green Archers banked on team effort and steady free throw shooting to shut down a determined Adamson Falcon squad that wouldn’t come down without a fight.
Perkins led the Green Archers with a double double of 13 points and 13 rebounds, while N. Torres had a bounceback game after starting the season sluggish with 13 points and five rebounds. Jeron Teng had an all-around-game with 12 points, eight rebounds, and five assists while Almond Vosotros and van Opstal had 11 and 10 points respectively.
Celedonio Trollano Jr. led the Falcons with 14 points and 11 rebounds while main man Jericho Cruz had 13 points, but needed to earn them as he needed 17 shots to get them. Gian Abrigo nearly stole the show from the Green Archers scoring all of his 10 points in the 4th. Despite that, it wasn’t enough as it was him who committed the foul that sealed the deal for the Green Archers.
The defenses of both teams were the highlights early in the game, with multiple turnovers and no points on the scoreboard for over two minutes. The Falcons claimed the first basket, but it was quickly offset by Perkins who opened La Salle’s run. Perkins, Thomas Torres, van Opstal, Vosotros, and LA Revilla each pitched in points in a run to end the first quarter to give La Salle the lead, 18-7.
The team kept their momentum high entering into the second canto, fueled by Teng who scored a total of 10 points in the period alone. Adamson began to close-in midway, but the Green Archers held on to further push the lead to 13 and went into halftime with a score of 35-22.
Vosotros then opened the second half with a three pointer, and the squad stretched the lead to as much as 18 points. Teng, notorious at the free throw line, continued to make all his baskets from the charity stripe and he made all four of his attempts for the game. The Green Archers closed the third quarter maintaining their double-digit lead at 55-42.
After a van Opstal score early in the fourth, it seemed as if the Green Archers were in the driver’s seat and headed towards an easy victory. Baskets by Norbert Torres and Luigi Dela Paz gave the Green Archers their biggest lead in the quarter at 17, 61-44, with seven minutes and 44 seconds left in the game.
Baskets by Jericho Cruz and Celedonio Trollano Jr. cut the lead into single digits though as Adamson began its 20-4 run to tie the game up at 65 apiece with a little over a minute remaining. Teng was fouled and with the game on the line and he had to close the match in what seemed lik the loneliest place in the world at the moment: the free throw line. He then made both, much to the joy of the La Salle community, and the Green Archers never looked back. Two more free throws by N. Torres and another one by Teng sealed the win for the team.
Critics and armchair analysts alike can comment on the Green Archer’s troublesome free throw shooting, but with today’s performance, perhaps they silenced them for the time being. Shooting an accurate 81.8 percent, not only did they make more than the Falcons, 18-10, but they also shot at a better rate, with Adamson ending up with a 66.7 percent clip.
La Salle’s win raises its standing to 3-3, as it ties with Adamson, the NU Bulldogs and the UE Red Warriors at third place. The four come behind the UST Growling Tigers and their 4-2 card, and the FEU Tamaraws’ stainless 6-0 slate.
The Green Archers will go head-to-head with the NU Bulldogs on Sunday to close the first round of the men’s basketball games at 4 pm in the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, as they seek to further pull up the team’s standing to 4-3 and finish the first half on a high note.
DLSU 70– N. Torres 13, Perkins 13, Teng 12, Vosotros 11, Van Opstal 10, Revilla 6, T. Torres 3, Dela Paz 2, Tampus 0, Salem 0, Bolick 0
AdU 67– Trollano 14, Cruz 13, Abrigo 10, Cabrera 9, Inigo 7, Brondial 6, Sewa 5, Agustin 2, Julkipli 1, Rios 0, Petilos 0, Monteclaro 0
Quarter scores: 18-7, 35-22, 55-42, 70-67