La Salle escapes past UST. Forces playoff with Adamson for last Final 4 berth

La Salle came back from nine points down in the fourth to survive the upset-minded University of Santo Tomas, 77-72, to stave off elimination Wednesday.

The Green Archers at 7-7 will face Adamson University (7-7) in a knockout match for the last Final Four ticket.

“It was a hard-fought ball game. We were missing players again and as I told the guys that it’s been a rough season for us,” said La Salle head coach Derrick Pumaren said, missing Mike Phillips and Kevin Quiambao — both ‘under-the-weather’. Schonny Winston played just three seconds to inbound the ball in the last minute of the match.

“We just have to keep playing and just gonna do our part. The boys hang tough out there, it was a total team effort,” he added.

Royce Mantua’s three-pointer at the 8:26 mark of the payoff period gave the Growling Tigers a nine-point lead, 69-60.

However, that would be their last field goal until a buzzer-beater by Richi Calimag.

On the other hand, Mark Nonoy, JC Macalalag, Evan Nelle, and Ben Phillips linked for 17 points to give the Green Archers the win.

It was Macalalag who put La Salle on top after his jumper with 1:50 left as Christian Manaytay was called for a foul on Phillips, sending the latter to the line which he calmly drained both, 73-69.

Nelle delivered 25 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while Raven Cortez stepped up with 13 points and four rebounds.