Higher stakes, same result. Despite going against a more resilient ADMU Blue Eagle squad, the DLSU Green Archers posted a 92-77 victory in the FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup semifinal held yesterday at the FilOil Arena in San Juan.
Thomas Torres led all DLSU players in scoring after finishing with 17 points, while Ben Mbala ended the game with 16 points, a team-high 17 rebounds, two steals, and one block. Aljun Melecio, Abu Tratter, and Andrei Caracut proved to be effective in this game, as they scored 15, 14, and 13 points, respectively, in what was La Salle’s ninth victory in as many games.
Aaron Black led all scorers with 24 points, while Thirdy Ravena added 10 points and four rebounds. Ikeh Chibueze had 11 rebounds in the loss but he struggled with his shot as he made only one of his eight field goal attempts.
La Salle dominated the opening quarter as they relied on their pressure defense to take a 27-14 lead behind the efforts of its starters, with Tratter and Melecio carrying the scoring for Jeron Teng, who played only 15 minutes due to an ankle injury he suffered against FEU in the quarterfinals.
The second quarter began in DLSU’s favor as they led the Blue Eagles, 40-22, at one point in the game. Ateneo would then go on a rally to cut the La Salle lead to single digits, 45-40, late in the first half, but a three-pointer from Torres gave the Green Archers a slightly more comfortable 48-40 margin heading into the halftime break.
Ateneo picked up where they left off in the latter parts of the second quarter as they continued to threaten the DLSU lead in the third quarter. Though the Green Archers were able to bring their lead back to double digits, the efforts of Black and Ikeh helped place them within striking distance, 66-56, heading into the final quarter
In the fourth quarter, the Blue Eagles would be able to cut the lead to single digits, 76-68, with a little less than six minutes left in the game. However, Mbala, Torres, and Tratter hit key baskets down the stretch to hand the Green Archers another victory in the preseason tourney.
A look at the team statistics showed that Ateneo won the rebounding battle, 45-37. However, La Salle dominated the steals department (8-1), and forced the Blue Eagles to commit 22 turnovers, seven more than what the Green Archers finished with. Both teams had nearly the same amount of free throw attempts, as ADMU had 27 trips to the free throw line as compared to DLSU’s 26.
The Green Archers will return to the same venue tomorrow, June 12, when they take on the Arellano University Chiefs at 4 pm.