Photo by Czeasar Dancel/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle University Green Archers did everything right for the first 3 quarters, but when it was winning time, the better team came up with the defensive stops and made the big shots to escape victorious.
Thanks to a dominant 22-13 fourth period, the UST Growling Tigers took down their rivals from DLSU for the second time this season, 81-79, and improved to 7-1 in the UAAP Season 78 senior’s basketball tournament on Sunday, October 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Karim Abdul had his best game of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Ed Daquioag accounted for 17 points and 6 boards, and Kevin Ferrer, who came to life with 11 points in the final 10 minutes, finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
La Salle, who at one point was on top by 11 in the third quarter, was led by the 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists of Jeron Teng.
“Iba na yung second round eh. Yung teams nag adjust na saamin, so kailangan mag double effort kami sa mga ginagawa namin this second round,” Growling Tigers head coach Bong Dela Cruz said in the post-game press conference.
(The second round is different. Teams are adjusting to us, so we need to make double effort with what we do here in the second round.)
Like in their last game against the Green Archers where they trailed by 14, UST once again took control of the contest in the second half. But this time around, their run took place in the fourth quarter instead of the third.
The Green Archers were ahead by 7, 66-59, thanks to a Teng jumper to end the third quarter. But the Growling Tigers opened the final period on a 14-2 run that was capped off by tough jumpers from Marvin Lee and Ferrer.
La Salle tied the contest at 73 thanks to 5 straight points by rising star Prince Rivero with 4:29 left in the game. Both teams then went scoreless for consecutive possessions, until Abdul converted in the post, 75-73, with 2:22 to go.
A little less than a minute later, Teng threw away one of his 5 turnovers and it landed on the hands of Louie Vigil, who took the handle all the way for a layup and 4-point lead.
The Green Archers then missed consecutive 3-pointers as shots by Thomas Torres and Teng went in and out. UST was able to seal the game at the foul line after, with a late 3-ball by Torres and near fullcourt heave by Teng keeping the score closer than it should have been.
Lee finished with 13 points and hit 4 3-pointers, while Vigil came off the bench to produce 13 points and 4 rebounds.
Torres, who went 4-of-17 from the field, finished with 11 points. Rivero had 13 points and 7 boards, while Joshua Torralba registered 12 points.
DLSU, who played without the ill Rookie of the Year race leader Andrei Caracut, fell to 4-4, tying with Ateneo for third place in the league standings.
“Ito yung hinihintay namin - maging balanced yung attack namin. But yung defense, we need to step up more sa defense,” Dela Cruz commented about his team’s performance post-game.
(This is what we were waiting for - for our attack to be balanced. But the defense, we need to step up more there.)
“The game was really physical. I really wanted to win this badly so we stay on top,” quipped Abdul.
The big man and his team will be back in action on Saturday, October 17, when they battle with the NU Bulldogs - the only team who’s defeated UST so far this season.
La Salle, on the other hand, faces UE on Wednesday, October 13.
UST (81): Abdul 18, Daquioag 17, Ferrer 15, Vigil 13, Lee 13, Sheriff 3, Bonleon 2, Abdurasad 0, Caunan 0, Faundo 0, Garrido 0, Lao 0, Subido 0
DLSU (79): Teng 16, Rivero 13, Torralba 12, Torres 11, Tratter 7, Perkins 6, Sargent 6, Navarro 5, Langston 3
Quarter scores: 21-22, 37-45, 59-66, 81-79 – Rappler.com