The DLSU Green Archers continued to showcase their dominance over the rest of the UAAP as they defeated the UST Growling Tigers, 99-56, earlier today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The 43 point margin was the largest by any team in the UAAP this season. La Salle dominated the game throughout, as every single player in uniform played and contributed in the victory.
While UST is currently not in the Final Four standings with a 3-8 win-loss record, DLSU assistant coach Paolo Sauler, after the game, said, “We just wanted to play our hardest whether the lead was big or small. We just want to take care of the details.”
Ben Mbala, yet again, paced La Salle with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Jeron Teng also added 16 points while Justine Baltazar had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds. Louie Vigil was the only Growling Tiger to score in double digits as he scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the losing effort.
The game started with UST playing the aggressor, as Jon Sherrif and Louie Vigil came away with steals which led to easy transition layups. Meanwhile, Teng opened the scoring for DLSU with consecutive jumpers. By the first timeout midway through the quarter, the Growling Tigers held a 10-5 advantage.
The Green-and-White, though, would then go on an 8-2 run to take the lead, fueled by a putback slam dunk by Mbala off a Jason Perkins miss. Rebounds were the telling statistic early on, as reserve big man Justine Baltazar came up with key offensive rebounds and putback layups of his own for DLSU. The Green Archers would eventually close out the quarter strong to take a 19-15 lead.
While the teams continued to trade baskets until the 6:15 mark of the second quarter, it was La Salle that began to pull away from its opponent. A Montalbo jumpshot at the midway point of the period ignited a 20-2 run by DLSU to end the quarter. In the middle of it all was the team’s “mayhem” defense and a Euro step layup by Ricci Rivero, that the UST bench believed to be a travel. In turn, coach Boy Sablan and Marvin Lee were called for a technical and unsportsmanlike foul, respectively. This five point possession by the Green Archers proved to be a catalyst in the team’s performance. DLSU held a decisive 45-23 lead at halftime.
The Green Archers started the second half with early turnovers by Mbala. He would more than make up for them, scoring DLSU’s first seven points. Teng would also join the scoring with back-to-back transition layups capped off by an amazing block by Mbala on the other end to force a UST timeout. The DLSU lead ballooned to 56-27 at that point.
Coming off the timeout, it was the same story throughout the third, with Teng and Perkins continuing to put up points for the Green-and-White. Second-chance points and UST turnovers raised the DLSU lead even further, as the latter outscored the former, 23-14. By the end of the quarter, La Salle had taken a commanding 68-37 lead.
With DLSU entering the final quarter with a 31 point lead, it was a game in which only the final score had yet to be decided. The La Salle bench and crowd did erupt, though, when coach Ayo seemed to experiment with a big lineup that consisted of Sargent, Dyke, Perkins, Tratter, and Mbala.
DLSU’s dominance in the paint was its main strength. The Green Archers out rebounded UST, 66-35, and scored 34 more points in the paint than the Growling Tigers, 58-24 . Its 32 second chance points, as compared to UST’s 6, was one of the main factors that allowed La Salle’s lead to grow further. In the end, the Growling Tigers could not figure out the Green-and-White defense as they shot only 27.54 percent from the field.
“We need to continue improving each game,” said Sauler, when asked about the next games. “Hopefully we can get better.” The Green Archers will look to continue their undefeated season as they face the UE Red Warriors on October 26, at 2 pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
DLSU 99 – Mbala 21, Teng 16, Baltazar 10, R. Rivero 9, Torres 5, Montalbo 5, Tratter 4, Sargent 4, Dyke 4, Paraiso 4, P. Rivero 4, Melecio 3, Caracut 2
UST 56 – Vigil 18, Subido 9, Sherrif 6, Huang 6, Lee 5, Arana 5, Lao 3, Faundo 2, De Guzman 2, Afoakwah 0, Macasaet 0
Quarter scores: 19-15, 45-23, 68-37, 99-56