The DLSU Green Archers dealt the UST Growling Tigers yet another loss in Season 80 of the UAAP, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena. The 94-59 triumph by La Salle over UST gave the Taft-based squad its tenth win as they continue to pursue the top seed in the standings. With the victory, DLSU clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.
“Everyone wants to have a twice-to-beat advantage. Luckily for us, we got it done today but we have to stay focused in our next games. We have Eagles to take care off,” says Mbala after the game.
Ben Mbala top scored for the Green Archers with 17 points in only 19 minutes of playing time. The reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player also added nine rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field. Ricci Rivero chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists to help Mbala on the offensive end.
Marvin Lee led all scorers with 25 points and also grabbed seven rebounds but committed eight turnovers in almost 35 minutes of play. Jordan Sta. Ana struggled to shoot the ball as he only finished with four points but dished out five assists in the losing effort.
Thrilling first half
The game started with Sta. Ana committing a traveling violation 14 seconds into the quarter while R. Rivero missed a side-step lay-up on the next possession. Lee made two straight field goals to start the scoring for both teams but R. Rivero and Mbala answered back with a 7-0 run to get the team its first lead of the game, 7-4. Steve Akomo and Lee kept their team in the game as they scored 14 of UST’s 16 first quarter points. Jollo Go made a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter to give La Salle a four-point advantage, 20-16.
After another slow start to the game, Mbala realizes that it has to change if the team wants to keep winning games. He says, “We really have to start stronger. We have to be the more aggressive team.”
Abu Tratter and Kib Montalbo made a field goal each to start the second quarter but Wendell De Guzman answered those baskets with two floaters to put the score at 24-20. After De Guzman’s field goal, the Green Archers unleashed a massive 14-0 run with R. Rivero spearheading the offensive onslaught. R. Rivero scored nine points during that run while Brent Paraiso, Andrei Caracut, and Mbala scored the other five points. Jorem Soriano made a lay-up to stop the run of La Salle but R. Rivero and Mbala converted two points each to erect a 20-point lead, 42-22. Sta. Ana made his only field goal of the half with a lay-up to trim the deficit to 18 points but Caracut knocked down a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to push La Salle’s lead to 21 points, 45-24.
Dominating second half
Lee started the second half strong with a quick lay-up 10 seconds into the quarter but Santi Santillan made a driving dunk to answer Lee’s basket. The Green Archers continued their impressive play on the offensive end as they scored 30 more points after Santillan’s dunk. Aljun Melecio’s shot started to fall as he converted two three-pointers in the quarter while Prince Rivero and Tratter dominated the paint to help the defending champions build a 77-41 lead going into the final canto.
Rivero and Go scored a hook shot and a three-pointer, respectively, to start the fourth quarter as the Green Archers continued to dominate the winless Growling Tigers. It was a perfect opportunity for head coach Aldin Ayo to give some of his rookies playing time as Gabe Capacio, Ramil Tero, and Josh Gonzales were able to get into the game.The Growling Tigers continued to stay in the game behind Lee’s efforts but it was not enough as time was not on their side and the Green Archers won 94-59.
While the UST starters were almost able to keep up with DLSU, 49-52, the former’s bench was dominated by the latter as the Lasallian non-starters produced 42 points, as compared to the Growling Tigers’ 10. The Green Archers also dominated the rebounding throughout the game as they grabbed 15 more than UST, 61-45. Overall, it was a dominant showing from the Taft-based squad as they led by as much as 42 points in the game.
The Lasallians will aim to extend their current winning streak to six games as they face the NU Bulldogs on November 4, 4pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
DLSU 94- Mbala 17, R. Rivero 16, Go 12, P. Rivero 10, Tratter 8, Caracut 7, Melecio 6, Santillan 6, Capacio 5, Baltazar 4, Montalbo 2, Paraiso 1, Tero 0, Gonzales 0
UST 59- Lee 25, Akomo 14, Sta. Ana 4, De Guzman 4, Basibas 4, Escalambre 4, Macasaet 2, Soriano 2, Faundo 0, Caunan 0, Remero 0, Kwawukumey 0
Quarter scores: 20-16, 45-24, 77-41, 94-59