La Salle crushed the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 63 – 56 behind a strong second half performance to strengthen their final four hopes. The victory allowed the Archers to keep pace with the National University Bulldogs at 4th place in the league table, and gave them a much-needed confidence boost going into the final game of the eliminations.
The Green Archers used an 11 – 0 run in the second half to give La Salle a comfortable margin that they maintained despite repeated rallies by the Tamaraws to notch their 8th win of the season.
“Sobrang focused lang talaga ako ngayon. Alam ko kasi na kapag natalo kami today eh tanggal na kami sa Final Four”, said Almond Vosotros who drained 21 points, including 3 three-point shots as well as 2 assists and 2 rebounds to lead the La Salle effort. Aside from scoring 10 points, Jeron Teng also collected 10 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.
Terrence Romeo led the Tamaraws with a game high 26 points, 15 of which came from beyond the three point line. RR Garcia followed with 10 points and 6 rebounds as FEU’s guards dominated their scoring.
It was a tight first half, neither team able to sustain any sort of momentum, with both squads shooting under 23% by half time. The Tamaraws found some offensive momentum early in the second quarter after two consecutive three-point shots by Terrence Romeo and Carl Cruz to give them some breathing space. But obviously bothered by the persistent and tight marking, FEU misfired repeatedly from the field, even botching a few open shots as the Tamaraws went silent from the field to surrender the halftime lead to La Salle. LA Revilla scored several key baskets that helped keep the Archers within striking distance of FEU. Vosotros scored back-to-back baskets to finally tie the game at 24, then Jeron Teng finished off the half by converting 2 free throws after being fouled by Roger Pogoy at 26 – 24.
Shaking the free throw bug, La Salle managed to convert a respectable 65.2% of their trips to the charity lane. FEU, on the other hand, were only able to convert 54.5% of their attempts. The Green Archers also outrebounded the Tamaraws at 49 – 40.
Both teams were affected by the pressure with the Green Archers turning the ball over 18 times. FEU took advantage of this by scoring 16 points from turnovers. La Salle, however, was not far behind as the Archers scored13 points from FEU’s 16 turnovers.
The Green Archers grabbed the initiative early in the second half, with Vosotros canning 2 foul shots on a technical foul on a Tamaraw bench player for throwing the ball at Manguera at the end of the first half. Active defending kept the Tamaraws from scoring while the Archers connected from the field, with Arnold Van Opstal putting in 6 points to La Salle’s lead against FEU’s Christian Sentcheu, aided by 2 goaltending calls.
Thomas Torres shone on defense, successfully foul baiting and drawing a couple of charges which got the Tamaraws into early foul trouble in the third quarter. The Tamaras managed to cut the lead down to single digits, but La Salle did just enough to keep FEU away from striking distance.
LA Revilla and Norbert Torres scored back to back baskets by the start of the fourth quarter to give the Green Archers the biggest lead of the game at 48 – 35. RR Garcia and Russel Escoto drained back to back treys in the hopes of cutting La Salle’s lead down to a small margin, but their efforts proved to be in vain as La Salle hanged on to their lead until the final buzzer.
“I think we were lucky that we didn’t face a complete team as FEU were missing two key players. Secondly, we focused our defense on RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo because they are the ones who carry their team in terms of scoring. Romeo had 26 points while RR had 10. I think the other guys from FEU didn’t really score that much so we were very happy about that”, said Coach Gee Abanilla after being asked on what their mentality was coming into this game.
“We have been stressing to the boys that we have to take pride of the fact that we are the best defensive team in the league”, added Coach Gee.
La Salle’s last assignment will be against the Adamson Soaring Falcons this Thursday, September 20, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Despite defeating Adamson in their first round, Coach Gee said that the team will not take Adamson lightly as the Soaring Falcons are capable of spoiling their hopes of getting into the Final Four.
“We’re definitely expecting the best from Adamson kasi magaling magprepare si Coach Leo. We really want to win this badly and masasayang lang ang panalo against FEU kapag natalo kami sa Adamson”, said Coach Gee.
Note: Despite Co-Captain LA Revilla’s seeing some action today, Coach Gee stressed that LA has not yet fully recovered from his ankle injury. “Siguro mga 85% palang si LA ngayon”, he added. Coach Gee also added that Mark Tallo is not being played due to health problems. “May sakit kasi si Tallo ngayon kaya hindi siya naglalaro”, he added.
DLSU 63 – Vosotros 21, Teng 10, Revilla 8, Andrada 7, Torres N. 6, Van Opstal 6, Torres T. 3, Mendoza 2, Tampus 0, Webb 0, Manguera 0.
FEU 56 – Romeo 26, Garcia 10, Mendoza 8, Escoto 5, Cruz 3, Hargrove 2, Tolomia 2, Bringas M. 0, Pogoy 0, Sentcheu 0.
Quarter Scores: 11-12; 26-24; 42-33; 63-56