IT’S La Salle’s turn to show that first-round giant Far Eastern University no longer looks invincible.
Jason Perkins fueled a strong start and Jeron Teng came through the clutch as the Green Archers blasted the skidding Tamaraws, 75-66, yesterday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
“I’ve been telling my players to be mentally tough and prepared,” said coach Juno Sauler after the Archers pinned a second straight loss on the Tamaraws, who have yet to win after a seven-game sweep of the first round.
Perkins fired 13 of his 18 points in the first half where the Archers pulled ahead by as many as 22 points, 43-21. The Filipino-American rookie also grabbed 13 rebounds.
Earlier, National University cruised past Adamson, 80-48, and moved within striking distance of the top spot with a 6-3 record, just a game away from the Tamaraws.
Emmanuel Mbe and Ray Parks powered the Bulldogs’ dominant start where they zoomed to a 21-7 lead and never looked back.
The Archers crashed the top four with a 5-4 card, while the Falcons fell to 3-6.
Teng added 16 points, including six in the last six minutes that helped protect the Archers’ lead, 71-62, after the Tamaraws had rallied within a bucket, 62-60, behind Mark Belo.
“We’ve talked about the mistakes we committed in the first round and we made sure to learn from them,” said Teng after the Archers avenged their first-round heartbreak to the Tamaraws in overtime, 79-83, after blowing a 13-point lead in the last three minutes of regulation.
Top MVP contender Terrence Romeo, who shot a season-low eight points in the Tamaraws’ 58-59 loss to the Bulldogs last Wednesday, struggled anew with 12 on a 4-of-18 shooting clip.
Mbe collected 21 points, 10 rebounds and four steals, while Parks also had a solid outing of 16 points, six boards and five assists.
“It all boiled down to our stops,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “Fortunately for this team, we were able to run. We were able to get shots off our transition. That really helped us.”
The Bulldogs overwhelmed the Falcons in every department, including rebounds (41-30), fastbreak points (23-3) and points off turnover (20-8).
“I’m very proud of the boys,” said Altamirano. “They executed the game plan very well.”
NU 80—Mbe 21, Parks 16, Roño 8, Porter 6, Javillonar 6, Alolino 6, Rosario 5, Khobuntin 4, Neypes 3, Javelona 3, Villamor 2, Perez 0, Labing-isa 0.
ADAMSON 48—Cabrera 12, Cruz 11, Sewa 8, Petilos 5, Brondial 5, Garcia 2, Agustin 2, Abrigo 2, Monteclaro 1, Trollano 0, Rios 0, Ochea 0, Julkipli 0, Iñigo 0.
Quarters: 21-7, 37-25, 55-40, 80-48
LA SALLE 75—Perkins 18, Teng 16, Vosotros 13, Van Opstal 9, Salem 6, Montalbo 5, Torres 4, Tampus 4, Revilla 0, Bolick 0.
FEU 66—Pogoy 16, Belo 16, Romeo 12, Tolomia 7, Hargrove 6, Garcia 5, Cruz 4, Iñigo 0, Sentcheu 0, Mendoza 0, Jose 0, Dennison 0.
Quarters: 23-14, 44-33, 60-50, 75-66