The DLSU Green Archers ended the elimination round of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup with a 78-70 victory over the Letran Knights yesterday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan. With the victory, La Salle finishes the preliminary round with seven wins in as many games.
Jeron Teng scored a game-high 22 points and added four assists, while Ben Mbala had another double-double performance after finishing the game with 14 points and 18 rebounds. Jollo Go rounded out the double-digit scorers for La Salle with 10 points. Rey Nambatac, Jomari Sollano, and Chris Balagasay each had 11 points for Letran.
La Salle managed to impose its heft in the second half, out-rebounding the Knights, 47-37, in the game. Letran, on the other hand, utilized its speed as they had 24 assists to the Green Archers’ 19. As the game was played at a frantic pace, both teams combined for a total of 73 turnovers, 34 of which came from the Knights.
“Letran kalaban mo. Kailangan natin talaga ingatan ang bola,”commented DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo after the game.
The Green-and-White struggled in the first period of the game and were contained by the pesky defense of Letran. Abu Tratter and Mbala, who normally had their way in the paint, were unable to establish their post-presence early on. The Knights took an early 14-8 lead while Teng and Mbala carried the load for the Green Archers. The duo trimmed the deficit to two, as La Salle trailed 18-16 at the end of the quarter.
Ayo’s former team relied on its team defense to make up for its lack of height. As a result, the Knights managed to get 25 fastbreak points as compared to La Salle’s 13. The team from Taft was also out-assisted by the defending champions of the NCAA, 11-8, at halftime and trailed 34-31.
“We had to counter their effort with our own efforts.Yung mga batang yun[Letran],naglalaro talaga,” said Ayo on the team’s slow start.
The Green Archers came out rejuvenated in the second half. Teng created problems for the defense of the Knights with his mid-range jumpshots. La Salle went on a 12-1 run in the early moments of the third quarter as it took a 45-37 lead. The Knights refused to give up as they continued to play the game at a frantic pace.
Letran trimmed the La Salle lead to six, 60-54, in the early moments of the final period behind the efforts of Sollano. DLSU rookie Ricci Rivero responded with a 6-0 run of his own to keep the Green Archers ahead. There was no looking back for the Green-and-White as they kept their rivals at bay until the end.
Up next for the Green Archers are the FEU Tamaraws, whom they will face in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, June 7, at 5 pm in the same venue.