After a dismal start to their preseason campaign with a loss to the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, the DLSU Green Archers bounced back with a 94-71 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD) earlier today at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Leading by as many as 25 points, the Lasallians forced their opponents to commit 43 turnovers which were converted into 37 points.
Ben Mbala scored a game-high 30 points and nine rebounds in just 21 minutes of play to lead La Salle, while rookies Santi Santillan and Ramil Tero added 10 and nine points, respectively. Meanwhile, Gab Daganon paced the Altas with 17 points, with Jack Hao contributing 11 in a losing cause.
The game began with both teams having early success and trading baskets, with UPHSD having the slight edge. Finding themselves down early in the opening quarter, the Green Archers would eventually make their presence felt on both ends of the floor. With a 13-8 deficit, La Salle went on a 16-0 run to end the quarter with a 27-13 lead, as Mbala and Montalbo combined for 11 points in the crucial stretch.
The Green Archer’s tenacity on defense continued in the second frame, leading to numerous transition baskets. This was highlighted when the backcourt duo of Caracut and Ricci Rivero’s pressure defense resulted in a breakaway reverse slam dunk by the latter. Moments later, another transition dunk by Mbala pushed the lead to 19 with under two minutes to play at the half. After two quarters, the Green-and-White led, 49-33.
Similar to the second period of the ball game, the two teams traded points throughout the third quarter. Consequently, at the 4:11 mark, the Altas scored five unanswered points off a fast break layup from Daganon. With 3:19 remaining in the quarter, Tero responded for the Green Archers with three made free throws. The highlight of the period was an Mbala dunk coming off an assist from Melecio. La Salle was able to protect its lead, concluding the quarter in its favor at 76-56.
After Gab Daganon opened the fourth quarter in favor of UPHSD with a quick layup, DLSU only continued to pull away with its lead. The final quarter saw the Green-and-White score six consecutive points coming from combination plays from the Green Archers. Abu Tratter and Ramil Tero executed back-to-back layups followed by a jumpshot from Brent Paraiso. The Altas were unable to recover as La Salle sealed a 94-71 victory.
After the game, DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo commended his players on their performance, but was quick to point out that they are still far from where they want to be. “Maganda yung laro ng mga bata, umikot yung bola, pero kulang na kulang pa kasi di pa na-define yung mga roles. So we are still a work in progress.” (They played well and moved the ball, but we’re still lacking because we haven’t defined their specific roles). Likewise, he was optimistic that with a busy schedule of preseason tournaments ahead of them, they will reach their target.
The Green Archers will face the ADMU Blue Eagles in the Milcu Sports Summer Basketball Showcase today, May 8, at 4 pm in the same venue. On May 14, the Green-and-White will return to the FilOil Flying V Centre to resume its Preseason Premier Cup campaign versus the UST Growling Tigers at 5 pm.
DLSU 94 – Mbala 30, Santillan 10, Tero 9, Tratter 8, Caracut 7, Melecio 6, Montalbo 6, Baltazar 6, R. Rivero 4, Go 4, P. Rivero 2, Paraiso 2, Gonzales 0, Capacio 0
UPHSD 71 – Daganon 17, Hao 11, Pido 8, Yuhico 8, Eze 6, Ylagan 6, Coronel 4, Sadiwa 4, Singontiko 4, Clemente 3, Tamayo 0, Mangalino 0, Lucente 0, Casas 0
Quarter scores: 27-13, 49-33, 76-56, 94-71