The DLSU Green Archers exacted revenge on the UP Fighting Maroons, 85-62. On Coach Aldin Ayo’s birthday, La Salle delivered with a complete performance on both ends of the floor as it improved to a 7-2 win-loss record earlier today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Ben Mbala was once again named Player of the Game after leading the Green Archers with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists. Ricci Rivero held his own as well, chipping in 20 points to go along with his three rebounds. Moreover, Jollo Go was a surprise contributor for DLSU, as he scored six points on two made three-pointers.
Meanwhile, Jun Manzo and Ibrahim Ouattara led the Fighting Maroons in the losing effort as they garnered 13 points and five rebounds and nine points and 12 rebounds, respectively.
Thrilling first half
Mbala immediately scored for the Green Archers from the charity stripe 30 seconds into the game. However, Jarrell Lim and Javier Gomez de Liano took turns shooting from the three-point line to give UP an early 9-4 lead. Nonetheless, a lead change midway the first quarter took place as the Green-and-White went on a 6-0 run led by Mbala and Santi Santillan. La Salle had several chances due to the numerous fouls committed by the Fighting Maroons, and they heavily capitalized on it as the team scored seven points from the free throw line in the quarter. The opening period ended with La Salle leading by 10, 24-14.
Jollo Go opened up the second quarter with a three-point shot to keep their rhythm offensively. UP had several chances due to infractions by DLSU but failed to capitalize, especially from the charity stripe, as they only shot three out of six. La Salle continued to balloon the lead from then on as the Lasallians sustained their momentum despite UP’s relentlessness. With the efforts of Prince Rivero and Kib Montalbo, DLSU went on a 7-0 run and stopped UP on the offensive end. Seeing that the team from Diliman struggled to convert baskets, Paolo Romero made his first shot for the Fighting Maroons, in the second quarter, with only two minutes left in the first half. Mbala and Ricci Rivero capped off the first half of the game with a successful free throw and a lay-up, respectively, to end the half at 51-27.
Persistent defense from the Green Archers forced 15 UP turnovers as compared to only 10 from La Salle. The Lasallian bench also contributed 21 points, which complemented 30 points from their starters.
Strong second half
In the second half, La Salle remained sharp on both ends of the floor as they stretched their lead behind the efforts of Mbala and R. Rivero. With 4:16 remaining, Manzo converted back-to-back fast break lay-ups, both from steals in favor of the Fighting Maroons. Similar to the first period of the ball game, the two teams traded points throughout the third quarter. Tension was raised anew as Noah Webb received a personal foul, as Go was able to convert free throws to keep DLSU’s lead in double-digits. The team from Taft capped off the third period with a 20-point lead, 65-45.
The duo of Ouattara and Jan Jaboneta started the final quarter in favor of the UP Fighting Maroons by scoring the first six points through a series of layups. Both teams then shuffled their players, but the lead and momentum switched to the Green-and-White. R. Rivero helped keep DLSU ahead by a comfortable margin in the final period, but UP was steadfast as the team continued to convert successful free throws and layups. In the end, the Green Archers were unwavered, as a R. Rivero three-point jumper and a Caracut layup sealed the score at 85-62.
DLSU’s dominance was evident in the rebounding battle as they held a 49-36 advantage in rebounds. Nonetheless, the team from Diliman was able to convert 15 points from the 23 turnovers of La Salle, compared to the seven converted points by the Green Archers from the UP’s 20 turnovers.
After the game, the top two scorers from the DLSU team spoke on behalf of the team. Mbala commended the team’s determination to win over the Fighting Maroons, “I think this was a game of pride. We needed to get back at them and I think we did it today.” The Cameroonian also shared that all they had to do was stick to the game plan. “Just like what coach said, just follow the system and just do what we practiced,” R.Rivero added.
The Green Archers will return to the Smart Araneta Coliseum when they take on the AdU Soaring Falcons on Saturday, October 21, at 2 pm.
DLSU 85 – Mbala 27, R. Rivero 20, Montalbo 12, Go 8, Santillan 7, P. Rivero 3, Baltazar 3, Melecio 3, Caracut 2, Tratter 0, Gonzales 0, Tero 0
UP 62 – Manzo 13, Ouattara 9, Desiderio 7, Ju. Gomez de Liano 7, Ja. Gomez de Liano 6, Lim 6, Vito 6, Webb 5, Jaboneta 3, Dario 0, Harris 0, Romero 0, Lao 0
24-14, 51-27, 65-45, 85-62