The De La Salle Green Archers bucked more injuries to their key players and managed to outlast the UST Growling Tigers, 83-70, on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The win puts La Salle at a 5-2 finish following the first round, their best mark since the 2008 UAAP season.
Jeron Teng had 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the win, while Jason Perkins pitched in with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Rookies Prince Rivero and Julian Sargent were superb, combining for 22 markers and 12 boards in the victory. Almond Vosotros finished with nine points.
It was a close affair until the third quarter, as UST leaned on the good play of Loiue Vigil and Aljon Mariano. Kib Montalbo, who got hit in the calf early in the quarter, was forced to sit out the rest of the game.
In the first half, big man Norbert Torres, who finished with two points in 11 minutes, lacerated his fingers, depleting the Green Archers’ big man lineup. However, Yutien Andrada stepped up in his absence, playing a key role in DLSU’s rally in the third period.
After Andrada tied the game at 50-all, UST went back up by one thanks to a trip to the free throw line. But then the Archers, powered by the contributions of their bench, went on a tear to build a 59-51 lead entering the fourth quarter.
UST scored the first two baskets in the deciding period, but Sargent totaled nine points in the next minutes, helping put the game out for good. After a Jan Sheriff basket cut the lead to six late in the game, Teng and Perkins combined for seven quick points to put the match out for good.
After the game, DLSU head coach Juno Sauler said Arnold Van Opstal will be out for three to five more days, the same most likely is the case with Torres. Kib Montalbo, who is still scheduled to get an MRI, may be out for one to two weeks.
Towards the end of the game, a heated argument took place between UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz, DLSU assistant coach Allan Caidic, and Teng about a certain issue. Later on, it was revealed the incident stemmed from a word Dela Cruz mentioned to Perkins, who called it “unnecessary.”
DLSU (83) – Teng 22, Perkins 15, Rivero 12, Sargent 10, Vosotros 9, Bolick 5, Andrada 4, Tratter 4, N. Torres 2, Montalbo 0
UST (70) – Mariano 20, Vigil 19, Ferrer 11, Abdul 10, Pe 6, Sheriff 4, Daquioag 0, Dela Cruz 0, Lao 0, Lo 0. Macasaet 0, Subido 0
Quarterscores: 17-15; 35-35; 59-51; 83-70