SportsFilOil: La Salle dispatches FEU, 78-53, advances to the semifinals
FilOil: La Salle dispatches FEU, 78-53, advances to the semifinals

The DLSU Green Archers defeated the FEU Tamaraws, 78-53, earlier today in the FilOil Flying V Center. Ben Mbala recorded a double-double for the Green Archers with 32 points and 19 rebounds.

Di lang naman si Ben, lahat ng players gumawa. Lahat ng players motivated,” said head coach Aldin Ayo after the game. Aljun Melecio finished the game with 13 points, seven assists, and three steals, while Ricci Rivero and Andrei Caracut chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

(It’s not all Ben, all of the players contributed and they are all motivated.)

Arvin Tolentino and Richard Escoto scored 10 points each in a losing effort as FEU crashed out of the preseason tournament.

First half

La Salle started strong and took a 9-3 lead off an R.Rivero layup. DLSU relied on its well-executed plays as the Green-and-White pushed its lead to 10 points, 18-8, off a layup by Mbala. FEU struggled to find its groove while DLSU took a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

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The Tamaraws started off the second quarter with a three-pointer by Alejandro Inigo to trim their deficit to six points. Soon after, Melecio of the Green Archers missed a layup, but Mbala immediately followed up with a dunk to extend La Salle’s lead, 24-16. DLSU went on a 7-0 scoring run, capped off by an Mbala layup which led to an FEU timeout. Melecio converted a layup as he gave the Lasallians a 35-22 lead heading into the locker room.

Second half

Allen Trinidad of FEU broke the Green Archers’ defense by scoring a layup at the 8:44 mark to cut the deficit to 11. The Lasallians countered with Melecio and Santi Santillian each scoring on the other end of the court to balloon the lead to 15.

Both teams exchanged baskets throughout the third quarter with different players contributing at the offensive end. Former ADMU Blue Eagles Tolentino and Hubert Cani sought to lead the Tamaraws’ comeback, but Justine Baltazar made his only field goal of the game- a spectacular dunk to give La Salle a 50-34 lead. Tolentino knocked down a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to cut the DLSU deficit to 16 points, 57-41.

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Prince Orizu and Joseph Nunag scored FEU’s first three points in the final period, but Mbala answered back at the 7:29 mark by converting two free throws. Ken Tuffin of FEU made a three-pointer moments later as the Tamaraws struggled to find their offensive rhythm afterwards.

The Green Archers took advantage of their opponents’ dry spell by unleashing a 10-0 run, with Mbala, Melecio, Santi Santillian, and Ricci Rivero each contributing a point to give La Salle a 70-47 advantage with 4:31 left on the clock. The Tamaraws quickly made two field goals in response, but time was no longer on their side, as they eventually succumbed to the reigning FilOil and UAAP champions.

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The Green Archers will face the Lyceum Pirates in the semifinals on Friday, June 23, at 5 pm in the same venue. “Mamaya, papanoorin ko pa lang yung videos ng mga games ng LPU. Especially yung game against us,” Ayo concluded.

(Later, I’m going to watch all the videos of the games of LPU, especially the one against us.)

The scores:

DLSU 78– Mbala 32, Melecio 13, R. Rivero 13, Caracut 11, Go 4, Santillian 3, Baltazar 2, Tero 0, Tratter 0, Gonzales 0, Capacio 0

FEU 53– Tolentino 10, Escoto 10, Inigo 6, Nunag 6, Tuffin 6, Orizu 5, Cani 4, Ramirez 2, Trinidad 2, Parker 1, Comboy 1, Bienes 0, Stockton 0

Quarter scores: 20-11, 35-22, 57-41, 78-53