What looked to be just a regular blowout game on a Saturday afternoon turned out to be an overtime nail-biter as the DLSU Green Archers overcome a huge deficit to beat the Lyceum Pirates in overtime, 121-119. “They gave us a dose of our own medicine,” said head coach Aldin Ayo on the game against Lyceum. La Salle now holds a 3-1 win-loss record in the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup.
Forward Ricci Rivero scored a team-high 23 points alongside five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. “He had that last season, ang problema lang talaga, hindi pa niya na-aabsorb yung sistema and yung adjustment niya from high school… He has matured a lot.”
Five other Green Archers scored in double figures in the winning effort. Ben Mbala and Aljun Melecio, contributed 19 points each while Santi Santillan added 17 points. Kib Montalbo and Andrei Caracut added 16 and 14 points, respectively.
It was a sluggish first quarter for the Green Archers as they went scoreless for the first three minutes of the game. Their defensive effort was equally subpar, allowing the pirates to score eight points on them in that same time frame.
The Green Archers started to find their rhythm in the seven-minute mark, highlighted by Santi Santillan’s and-one opportunity. The Pirates meanwhile, started getting hot as well as it became a trading of baskets for both teams on the offensive end for the rest of the quarter, with Lyceum edging out in the end, 32-27.
La Salle started the second period well with balanced scoring coming from Montalbo, Santillan, and Mbala. It was the same story on the defensive end of the court, unfortunately, as La Salle could not contain the offensive onslaught of the Pirates, ending the half trailing, 52-48.
LPU started the second half strong as it began to build up its lead against the Green Archers with a 13-2 run. Santillian broke the dry spell for the Green-and-White as he made a lay-up to give La Salle its second field goal of the quarter. The Pirates’ lead ballooned to double digits as the Green Archers had a hard time containing the offense of Lyceum, with Raymar Caduyac, Harry Nzeusseu and CJ Perez leading the way. Justine Baltazar converted a lay-up to trim the deficit to 12 with 17 seconds left in the quarter, but Jeffry Santos nailed a three-pointer to give Lyceum an 87-72 lead heading into the final quarter of regulation.
The biggest lead of the game came at the 9:54 mark of the fourth quarter when a goaltending call was called on Mbala following Jayvee Marcelino’s lay-up attempt. Tensions were raised when an unsportsmanlike foul and a technical foul was called at the 9:18 mark of the final canto. One of the Marcelino brothers was called for an unsportsmanlike foul after hitting Andrei Caracut on the face, while Mbala was called slapped with a technical for trash-talking.
The raucous seemed to fire up the Green Archers, however, as they slowly began to trim down the lead. The Lasallians got their first lead of the half when Mbala made a fastbreak layup after stealing the ball near the halfcourt line. Almost a minute later, a technical foul was called on Lyceum Head Coach Topex Robinson after complaining at the officials on a play wherein Rivero seemed to throw the ball at an opponent’s head after diving for it.
Santi Santillian gave the Green Archers a 107-104 lead with 32 seconds left to play, but Jasper Ayaay converted a free throw to cut the lead down by one. Montalbo lost the ball in the next possession and that proved to be a vital turnover as Jaycee Marcelino made two free throws to send the game to overtime.
10 seconds into overtime, Ben Mbala scored on a layup to put La Salle up by two, 109-107. Lyceum responded by attacking the paint and drawing fouls, with four of their 12 points in overtime coming from the free throw line. Respective slashers Jaymar Perez of LPU and Ricci Rivero of DLSU showcased their athleticism in attacking the paint as both scored five points to even the game up at 115-all with 2:34 left in overtime.
With Lyceum not looking to give this game easily, La Salle’s Andrei Caracut sank two straight three pointers to put the final nail in the coffin for Lyceum. Although the Pirates managed to score four more points, it was not enough as La Salle took their third win of the preseason while Lyceum succumb to their first loss in four games, 121-119.
To call this game a thriller is an understatement as both teams played with a chip on their shoulder. Three players fouled out, two of which were La Salle’s Mbala and Melecio. Meanwhile technical fouls were given to both Lyceum’s head coach Topex Robinson and Jayvee Marcelino.
Next up for the DLSU Green Archers are the Flying V Thunder, which will be a tuneup game this coming Sunday, 5pm at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Former team captains of the Green Archers Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres will go against their former team in this much anticipated game.
DLSU 121- Rivero 23, Mbala 19, Melecio 18, Santillan 17, Montalbo 16, Caracut 14, Baltazar 6, Tratter 5, Gonzales 2, Go 5
LPU 119- Perez 25, Ayaay 22, Nzeusseu 18, Caduyac 14, Marcelino Jayvee 13, Marcelino Jaycee 8, Baltazar 8, Tansingco 6, Santos 3, Marata 2, Ibañez 0, Serrano 0, Liwag 0
Quarter scores: 27-32, 48-52, 87-72, 107-107, 121-119 (OT)