The crowd was dominated by green in the Mall of Asia Arena as the DLSU Green Archers extend their winning streak to six games as they remain as the only undefeated team in the second round of the UAAP with a 57-55 win against the NU Bulldogs.
Jeron Teng led the Green-and-White with 21 points and seven rebounds, and he was complemented by the continued stellar play of Jason Perkins who chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Green Archers opened the game lacking the usual scoring intensity that the team has exhibited. With Teng opening the scoring by draining two charities and Arnold van Opstal forcing a lay-up shot, the Green Archers slowed down for the rest of the first half after taking an early 4-0 lead. A total of 11 turnovers pestered the play of the Taft-based squad in the first half who were squandering possessions here and there to give the Bulldogs 11 points off these errors.
On the other hand, NU only committed six turnovers over the first two periods, giving away just four points to their opponents from these unforced mistakes. Despite the turnovers, the Green Archers managed to keep at bay, trailing by just six, 31-25, at the halftime buzzer.
The Green Archers started out the second half hot, erecting a 6-0 run over the first minute and a half of the third. The run was eventually put to a halt as the Bulldogs answered back with a 6-0 run of their own, highlighted by two quick baskets by the reigning back-to-back MVP, Bobby Ray Parks, giving them their biggest lead of the game at nine, 37-28. Both teams continued to exchange blows as neither team got a strong hold of the lead. The quarter ended 45-42 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run fueled by a couple of baskets from Joshua Alolino which gave them an eight point cushion with seven minutes remaining in the game.
La Salle fired back, going on a scoring rampage as they slowly clawed their way back into the game. The boys in Green saw their first lead of the quarter at 54-53 by a pair of charities from Teng. This was immediately renounced by Parks with a contested lay-up on the other end to swing the lead back into their favor.
Trailing 55-54, Teng then gave DLSU the lead for good via a put back from his own missed jumper with just 44.8 seconds remaining in the game. The air-tight defense orchestrated by head coach Juno Sauler prevented the Bulldogs from having a good look at the basket, as Dennice Villamor missed the ring completely on the next possession then LA Revilla, the smallest player on the court, corralled the rebound.
Revilla then split his free throws, extending the lead to two, 57-55, with 12 seconds remaining in the game. The potential game-tying shot by Parks hit nothing but air as the Green Archers escaped with the win.
The win by DLSU now puts them in a three-way tie for first place with FEU and NU as all three teams sport 9-4 records. Their final game is against the UST Growling Tigers on Saturday, September 14 at the same venue. The last time the Green Archers finished the eliminations on top of the standings was 11 years ago in 2002, when the Green Archers finished the season with a 13-1 record.
DLSU 57: Teng 21, Perkins 18, Revilla 6, van Opstal 5,Salem 3, Vosotros 2, Reyes 2, Torres N. 0, Torres T. 0, Montalbo 0, De La Paz 0, Bolick 0,
NU 55: Parks 19, Alolino 15, Villamor 7, Javillonar 5, Mbe 4, Rosario 3, Neypes 2, Rono 0, Khobuntin 0, Javelona 0, Alejandro 0.
Quarter scores: 10-14; 25-31; 42-45; 57-55