The DLSU Green Archers surpassed the determined Mapúa Cardinals for their fifth straight win in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premiere Cup, 96-86, yesterday at the San Juan Arena.
Sophomore Prince Rivero posted a monstrous 22-point, 13-rebound outing, but it was Thomas Torres who received the Player of the Game honor with 21 points, five assists, and five rebounds.
Prized rookie Andrei Caracut, whose efforts spearheaded the Taft-based squad in their previous games, didn’t lead in scoring. He however proved his effectiveness on the game’s other aspects, with a statline showing 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
No letting up
It was a grinding battle for the first two quarters of the game with no team edging out the other in scoring. Mapúa relied heavily on mid-range jumpers to start the first quarter, hitting La Salle from every possible angle. The Green Archers responded quickly however, pounding the paint hard with big men Abu Tratter, Prince Rivero, and Jason Perkins either scoring lay-ups or drawing fouls. Rivero finished with 10 points on the first period alone, finishing the quarter with a 22-17 advantage.
It was at the start of the second quarter that La Salle started to lose its grip on the game, even trailing by as much as six points midway to the quarter.
Not even a minute had passed in the second quarter when the Cardinals’ Josan Nimes scored two field goals to cut the lead by just one point. The onslaught wasn’t over though, as the Archers just couldn’t find an answer for Nimes as he scored 15 of his total 28 points on that quarter alone, ending the first half at 46-45, with La Salle leading by the slimmest of margins.
“We can’t give up 28 points; 45 points in the first half,” lamented Green Archer coach Juno Sauler.
Following the halftime break, the Green Archers looked every bit as the team who furiously tore up the competition with a four-game winning streak as they manhandled the Cardinals, 29-15, in the third quarter featuring a commanding 21-6 run that blew the game wide open after a close first half battle.
“We just have to do a better job defensively. First half, (we) gave up too many lay-ups. I think Mapúa shot 60 percent in the first half. It decreased though in the second half; it dropped to 50. But it’s still something we need to take care of – the points in the paint,” added Sauler.
La Salle’s dominance came back after half time. Shot after shot, the Green Archers were difficult to contain. Combined with an improved defense, the scores quickly came in La Salle’s favor for the rest of the game, with the lead even ballooning to as much as 19 points during the third quarter.
Rivero dominated the inside game with 22 points in only three quarters, along with 13 boards, of which six were offensive, to counter Mapúa’s big man and tourney’s leading rebounder Allwell Oraeme, who tallied a double-double as well with 11 points and 19 rebounds. Rivero and Caracut combined for 10 points in the game-clinching rally of Lasalle, with Caracut converting on two three-point bombs.
Torres sealed their fifth consecutive win with a three of his own near the end of the fourth quarter, which hammered the final nail in the Cardinals’ coffin.
Next up for the Green Archers are the CEU Pink Scorpions, whom they will face on May 30, Saturday, at the San Juan Arena. Their game against CEU will be the last for the tournament’s elimination round, and the outcome for this match would definitely make an impact come playoff time.
DLSU 96 – Rivero 22, Torres 21, Teng 14, Caracut 11, Navarro 9, Tratter 8, Perkins 6, Go 2, van Opstal 2, Pascual 1, Gob 0
MIT 86 – Nimes 28, Oraeme 11, Dela Rosa 10, Isit 8, Serrano 8, Biteng 7, Raflores 6, Nieles 5, Que 3, Layug 0