The DLSU Green Archers dropped their FilOil tournament opener in an overtime thriller against the NCAA champion San Beda Red Lions earlier at the San Juan Arena, 86-80.
Eager to test his rookies, Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler fielded a total of 12 different players in the game, half of which were incoming rookies. Former San Beda high school standout Andrei Caracut provided the scoring in his first game donning a DLSU jersey, pouring 22 points against his alma mater. Sophomore Prince Rivero manned the boards with 13 rebounds, six of them in the offensive end.
“Nung nasa bench palang ako, parang pumped up na ako eh,” Caracut said after the game, adding that the feeling of seeing the San Beda crowd on the other side of the court was different.
All of their efforts were spoiled by the Red Lions, who were spearheaded by team captain Baser Amer and his game-high 26 points and five assists. Ola Adeogun on the other hand, finished with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Green Archers started the game flat-footed, missing their first six field goal attempts before registering their first basket midway through the first quarter. The Red Lions, on the other hand, executed their inside plays as they benefitted from Adeogun’s size advantage against Arnold van Opstal.
La Salle also had trouble keeping possession of the ball, which then gave San Beda six turnover points in the opening period. Red Lion Roldan Sara closed the period with back-to-back fastbreak lay-ups to give his team a 19-14 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The Taft-based squad finally got into rhythm in the second quarter with second chance points from big men Rivero and Larry Muyang. Jeron Teng also caught fire during the quarter, scoring his first two field goals in the midway point of the quarter. Caracut was the offensive key for DLSU in the second quarter, scoring 17 of his 22 points in the first half on five three-pointers.
“Gusto ko na [talagang] maglaro,” Caracut said, when asked about the moment coach Sauler called his number. “Iba, iba yung feeling eh. Ayun ,nung nakashoot ako, parang nawala yung kaba.”
Though La Salle managed to cut San Beda’s lead to just two points late in the period, a last-minute push courtesy of two consecutive three-point plays by Adeogun gave the Red Lions a 45-37 lead at halftime, with DLSU only making nine of their 33 two-point field goal attempts.
Revitalized second half
Both teams had their struggles early in the second half but scores from Kib Montalbo and Teng, along with two free throws from rookie Daryl Pascual, cut the San Beda lead to three, 53-50, with 2:27 left in the third quarter. San Beda responded to DLSU’s late run and increased their lead back to eight, 62-54, heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, San Beda brought their lead to double digits only to see Caracut respond with his sixth three-pointer to cut the lead to seven, 64-57. Montalbo made two three-pointers while Rivero scored off a Torralba assist to give DLSU the lead at 71-69, with 2:14 left in the fourth quarter. The Red Lions responded and took the lead with less than a minute in regulation, but Teng completed the three-point play to tie the game at 76 with 17.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The ensuing possessions saw both teams fail to score, thus forcing overtime.
DLSU failed to make the most out of the extra period as San Beda scored eight straight points before a Caracut jumper cut the lead to six, 84-78, with 1:21 left in overtime. The Green Archers couldn’t overcome San Beda’s steady play down the stretch and in the end, the Red Lions prevailed, 86-80.
“We were able to fight back coming from a big deficit and also [we saw] the fight that the rookies showed,” Sauler said after the game. “There was a point wherein we had four rookies in the game with Muyang, Pasucal, and the three guards. At least they showed that they can compete at this level even without the veterans in the game.”
Caracut’s 22 came mostly from his six three pointers, and he finished the game with a 75 percent clip from behind the three point line. Teng and Montalbo were the only other double digit scorers for DLSU with 13 apiece, while Rivero’s 13 boards were a game high. The Green Archers outrebounded the Red Lions 60-51, and had 27 offensive rebounds to San Beda’s 19.
Art Dela Cruz had 14 points and nine rebounds while Ryusei Koga had 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists. San Beda had eight blocks to DLSU’s two, with four of those coming from Adeogun. The Red Lions also forced DLSU to commit 18 turnovers while limiting themselves to 16.
Up next for DLSU will be a matchup against the LPU Pirates on Wednesday, May 6, at 5pm in the San Juan Arena.
San Beda 86 — Amer 26, Adeogun 15, Dela Cruz 14, Koga 10, Sara 7, Mendoza 6, Tongco 6, Sorela 2, Tankoua 0, Soberano 0, Mocon 0, Reyes 0, Presbitero 0, Sedillo 0, Abuda 0.
DLSU 80 — Caracut 22, Teng 13, Montalbo 13, Rivero 7, Van Opstal 7, Torralba 5, Tratter 4, Go 2, Navarro 2, Pascual 2, Muyang 2, Perkins 1.
Quarterscores: 19-14, 45-37, 62-54, 76-76, 86-80.