Despite holding a nine-point advantage at the end of the third quarter, the DLSU Green Archers failed to hold on to their lead as the FEU Tamaraws’ late-game onslaught crushed La Salle’s hopes for a Final Four appearance and won them the game, 71-68, yesterday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. FEU’s Roger Pogoy proved to be too much for the Archers to handle as his 11 points, all in the dying minutes of the match, ultimately sealed the Green Archers’ fate.
Jeron Teng led all scorers with 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while Rivero added 16 points on 53 percent field goal shooting and nine rebounds as well. The Tamaraws, on the other hand, had a balanced scoring night, with 12 of their players able to score a basket compared to La Salle’s eight. The Tamaraws’ top scorers, Pogoy, Monbert Arong, and Mark Belo combined for 34 points as they led the team to their eleventh win of the season. Meanwhile, La Salle ended their campaign with a 6-8 win-loss record.
Interestingly, La Salle had a much better shooting night, posting a 41.2 field goal percentage compared to the Tamaraws’ 36 percent. However, it was the second-chance points that hurt the Green Archers, as FEU managed to grab 21 offensive rebounds in contrast to DLSU’s 10.
The loss marks the first time since 2011 that La Salle failed to reach the playoffs, and the first time for veterans Thomas Torres and Teng since they suited up for the Green-and-White. The defeat is also reminiscent of last season’s devastating loss, which was against the same team, played on the same arena, and met with the same fate.
Holding the upper hand
The Green Archers looked flat at the start of the game, with turnovers and misses haunting the team’s offense early in the game. A bucket by forward Prince Rivero at the 8:40 mark helped stabilize the offense for the Archers as he continued to lead his team with eight points in the first quarter alone. The Tamaraws, on the other hand, had veteran Russel Escoto to match Rivero’s numbers, as he scored eight markers of his own, with the last two made during the dying seconds of the quarter, which they ended with the lead, 22-19.
It was during the second quarter that La Salle started to bring its game up. Not only did the Green Archers improve their offense, but the squad also enhanced their defense, limiting FEU to only seven points to end the first half with a 38-29 advantage. The same could be said in their performance in the third period as they managed to end it with a similar nine-point advantage, 54-45.
Late game collapse
Though they had a sizable lead at the start of the fourth, La Salle allowed the Tamaraws to get back in the game. Led by the hot hand of Pogoy, who scored all of his 11 points in the final frame, FEU was able to go an a 20-4 run. The run was capped off by a fade away jump shot from Arong, which gave the Morayta-based squad a 65-61 lead.
Down by four, 67-63, with over a minute left in the game, Teng converted on a tough layup and a foul shot to bring them within one. However, despite FEU’s Steve Holmqvist missing two free throws, the Green Archers turned over the ball in the next possession, giving their opponents breathing room to hit two foul shots with 12 seconds to go. Teng scored on another layup with seven seconds left on the clock but was unable to lift his team to the lead.
The Taft-based squad had big men woes their entire season. It showed during the game as they allowed the Tamaraws to out-rebound them, 51-44. While they played good perimeter defense against the opposing team’s guards, they were torched with several threes in the end game, three of which came from Pogoy. Tamaraw stars Mike Tolomia and Belo were played sparingly in the match.
The Green Archers ended their season with a 6-8 record, good for fifth in the standings. No players will be graduating after this year, keeping the nucleus of the team intact for the next UAAP season.
DLSU 68 – Teng 20, Rivero 16, Torralba 8, Torres 7, Perkins 6, Muyang 5, Caracut 3, Langston 3, Gob 0
FEU 71 – Arong 13, Pogoy 11, Belo 10, Inigo 9, Escoto 8, Orizu 5, Escoto 4, Trinidad 3, Tamsi 2, Holmqvist K. 2, Tolomia 2, Holmqvist S. 2, Comboy 0, Ebona 0
Quarter scores: 19-22, 38-29, 54-45, 68-71