The DLSU Green Archers will attempt to pursue a 10-0 win-loss slate as they face the Bulldogs on the second round of eliminations. The Bulldogs, currently on a three-game losing skid, lost twice against FEU and fell short to the UST Growling Tigers in their last three games. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs will look to improve their 4-5 standing as the race to the final four continues.
First round encounter
In the first round clash of the two teams, DLSU came out victorious and won the battle of the undefeated teams. Ben Mbala led the Green Archers past the Bulldogs with 16 points and 15 rebounds en route to a 75-66 win. Meanwhile, Jeron Teng’s 23 points along with five steals from Kib Montalbo sparked the come-from-behind win.
NU lead DLSU by as much as nine to start the second half. However, La Salle’s team effort trimmed the lead entering the fourth quarter wherein Teng took over. Matthew Salem and Jay Alejandro combined for 29 points in support of NU’s effort. On the other hand, Jess Diputado dished out four assists and shot 83 percent from the field. Although NU outrebounded DLSU, it wasn’t enough to keep the Bulldogs at par with the Green Archers. A vital key was La Salle’s defense, which forced 29 NU turnovers.
Teng finished with 21 points in his comeback against UP, and is still potent despite sitting out two games. Former Green Archer Matt Salem, who is coming off a 20-point performance in the Bulldogs’ loss to UST, will look to spread the floor for NU with his perimeter shooting.
Matthew Aquino and Tsaddy Rangel will back up Alfred Aroga, tasked with dealing with Mbala’s presence in the paint. With La Salle’s deep bench, production from the NU reserves will also serve as a crucial factor in their bid to deal the Green-and-White its first loss of the season. Alejandro and Diputado, as well as the rest of NU’s backcourt, will be pitted against the full court press of head coach Aldin Ayo. Montalbo currently leads La Salle in steals, averaging 2.5 per outing.
DLSU’s rookies have also been consistent in making a positive impact on the team. Aljun Melecio and Ricci Rivero contributed nine points each in their last game versus the UP Fighting Maroons and will be vital bench players for La Salle in overcoming NU.
The Green Archers and the Bulldogs are set to square off tomorrow, October 19, at 4 pm at the FilOil Flying V Arena.