The Green Archers were forcing turnovers and taking advantage of Ateneo’s miscues. They were moving the ball well and shooting at a high percentage. The problem was, this all happened in the game’s first twenty minutes. The uprising began early in the third on a Kiefer Ravena drive to the basket. Jeron Teng answered with a bucket of his own.
By the time La Salle made its next basket, the Blue Eagles had already scored 14 points and had carved a 44-39 lead. This was all part of a 23-9 third quarter that swung the tide in the favor of the Blue Eagles. The Archers rallied several times in the fourth quarter, but they could not get any closer than five points, ultimately losing, 62-73, earlier today at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The loss is La Salle’s fourth in its last five games, and is a huge dent on the team’s hopes of making a fourth straight appearance in the Final Four after missing the semis in 2009 and 2011. The Archers now hold a 5-7 win-loss record, which is fifth in the team standings after the NU Bulldogs won earlier in the day, which gives 6-7 record.
The Archers actually had a great started to the game, and led 23-13 after the game’s first ten minutes. But after an error-strewn first quarter, the Eagles cut La Salle’s lead to just five at the turn, before unleashing the telling run in the third that changed the game’s momentum.
Baskets and charities by rookies Adrian Wong and Aaron Black allowed the Blue Eagles to carry a 53-44 lead in the game’s last ten minutes. Thomas Torres, Jason Perkins, and Rivero tried to cut in the lead, and a triple by Perkins allowed the Archers to close to within six, 53-59, with 4:42 left in the game.
But charities by Von Pessumal and Black allowed Ateneo to preserve their lead. The Archers got to within 62-66 on a lay-up by Prince Rivero, with 25 ticks left, but an unsportsmanlike foul on Torres gave two free throws to Pessumal plus possession to the Eagles, essentially putting the game out of reach and sending La Salle to its fourth defeat in five games.
Rivero led the Green Archers with 16 points, nine rebounds, and two assists. Teng had 11 points, four boards, and four assists before fouling out near the end of the fourth period, though nine of his points came in the first half. Perkins and Joshua Torralba finished with eight points apiece for La Salle, which finished with a 37% shooting from the field after shooting 41% in the first two quarters.
Pessumal led all scorers with 17 points, and also had six boards. Ravena, in what could be his final Ateneo-La Salle game, scattered 15 points while adding five rebounds and six assists. Black finished with 13 points while Wong added 10 as the Ateneo bench outscored La Salle’s shock troopers, 30-23.
La Salle had more assists, 14-6, though eight of them came in the first half. They had 20 turnover points to Ateneo’s nine, but all of the Eagles’ transition points came in the second half. They were outrebounded, 48-34, and failed to score any second chance points, compared to 10 by Ateneo.
Ateneo- 73- Pessumal-17, Ravena-15, Black-13, Wong-10, Nieto, Ma.-6, Gotladera-5, Ikeh-4, Go-2, Capacio-1, Babilonia-0, Tolentino, M.-0, Cani-0, Tolentino, A.-0
La Salle- 62- Rivero-16, Teng-11, Perkins-8, Torralba-8, Torres-6, Muyang-6, Caracut-5, Go-2, Langston-0, Navarro-0, Tratter-0
Quarterscores: 13-23, 30-35, 53-44, 73-62
The Next Game: The Green Archers will try to keep in step with the NU Bulldogs in the race for the last Final Four slot when they collide with the UP Fighting Maroons this Wednesday, November 11, 4pm, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.