For the second straight game, Jeron Teng found himself at the charity stripe with the game hanging precariously in the balance. With 8.3 ticks left on the clock, the Green Archers were up by only three, 56-52, and sinking at least one of his freebies would douse any hopes of a comeback by the hard-fighting Adamson Falcons.
And despite the fact that he had missed all four of his previous free throws, Teng managed to split his charities when it mattered, and his father Alvin, clad in green and watching from one of the front rows, clapped in approval as his son’s first try went sailing through the net. That free throw was the cushion that the Archers needed, as they withstood a gritty Adamson side, 56-52, earlier today at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The win enabled the Archers to arrest a three-game slide, which included a pair of two-point losses against the FEU Tamaraws and the UST Growling Tigers, and raise their record to a 3-3 win-loss slate, which is good enough for fifth in the standings. It was also the first time that the Archers won against the Falcons since July 26, 2009, when they eked out a pulsating 63-63 win against the Falcons in overtime.
Teng’s final free throw that pegged the final count was just one of his game-high 15 points, and he pocketed another double-double performance by also grabbing 10 rebounds, five of them on the offensive glass. Norbert Torres, after struggling in their previous game against the Tigers, ploughed his way through the stingy Adamson defense to haul in 13 rebounds, score 12 points, dish out three assists, and block three shots.
With 13 seconds remaining in the game and the Archers nursing their three-point lead, Jed Manguera came up with a defensive gem and stole an inbound pass from Falcon Rodney Brondial to preserve the lead for the Archers. The leather then found itself into the hands of Teng, who was subsequently fouled by the Falcons, a foul that led to his game-sealing charity that iced the game for the Archers.
Despite clutching on to the lead for most of the game, the Archers actually found themselves down by three, 52-49, with a little over two minutes remaining in the contest. But baskets by Yutien Andrada and Teng off a nice dish from Thomas Torres finally enabled La Salle to wrench the lead for good.
The La Salle defense actually told on the shooting of the Falcons, as they groped for form and shot a horrendous 23% from the field, compared to a more efficient 40.7% shooting clip for La Salle. But despite their struggles from the field, the Falcons were able to make a barnburner out of it by making a living at the foul line, nailing 20 of their 30 tries for a 66.7% clip from fifteen feet.
“It was not the game that we visualized, but I’ll take the win anytime,” Archers mentor Gee Abanilla said after the heard-earned win by his wards, who played most of the game without team captain and leading scorer LA Revilla, who was sidelined and sent to the locker room midway through the second quarter and returned to the court late in the third stanza, but was never fielded in until the final horn.
With Revilla being sidelined most of the game, the heavy minutes which he usually shoulders was distributed among Thomas Torres, Mark Tallo, and Almond Vosotros, who came off the pine and werefielded for 17, 14, and 11 minutes, respectively. The three combined for 11 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block, as La Salle’s shock troopers outscored their counterparts from San Marcelino, 20-13.
Ryan Monteclaro’s 12 points and three trifectas led the scoring for the Falcons, who were playing their first game without graduating swingman Alex Nuyles, who was injured in their last game against the Bulldogs. Third-year big man Rodney Brondial and Roider Cabrera netted eight points apiece to backstop Monteclaro.
Revilla was seen briefly in the locker room through the arena’s monitors with an ice pack on his left ankle. Abanilla later confirmed that Revilla had suffered a severe sprain on the aforementioned left ankle, which is why he did not return to the game. An appointment with the doctors had already been scheduled to determine whether or not Revilla will be suiting up for their next game against the NU Bulldogs, which is also their final game of the first round.
The Next Game: The Archers will try to close out their first round campaign with a win against the NU Bulldogs this Saturday, August 18. Abanilla stressed the importance of winning their tiff against the Bulldogs, saying that “We want to end the first round on a winning note, because it is important that we stay with the pack [in the standings].”
La Salle-56–Teng-15, Torres, N.-12, Tallo-7, Andrada-6, Mendoza-5, Webb-4, Torres, T.-3, Manguera-3, Vosotros-1, Van Opstal-0, Revilla-0
Adamson-52–Monteclaro-12, Cabrera-8, Brondial-8, Rios-7, Cruz-7, Camson-5, Julkipli-2, Abrigo-2, Olalia-1, Trollano-0, Petilos-0, Etrone-0, Cabigas-0, Agustin-0
Quarterscores: 18-13, 30-32, 43-40, 56-52