LA SALLE will march into the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Final Four as the season’s hottest team armed with the twice-to-beat advantage.
Propped up by a sizzling LA Revilla, the Green Archers tripped Far Eastern University, 74-69, to claim the last semifinal bonus in the playoff for the No. 2 spot at MOA Arena yesterday while posting this season’s longest streak.
Revilla unloaded 18 of his 20 points from three-point range, including a crucial left-corner triple with 55.1 seconds left after the Tamaraws whittled down their 15-point lead, 66-51, to just five, 68-63.
“We just worked on [our shooting] last week,” said coach Juno Sauler after his Archers stretched their winning run to eight. “We knew that we got those kind of shots. We were just fortunate we were making those open shots.”
Jason Perkins buried 14 points, while Jeron Teng had an all-around effort of 13 markers, 10 boards, five assists and two steals for the Archers.
“I was blessed; it was just a lucky day,” said Revilla, who averaged 4.3 points and shot 14.3 percent (4-of-28) from beyond the arc before yesterday’s breakout game.
FEU and La Salle will go at it again in their semifinal series on Wednesday, with the Archers aiming for another victory to advance to the title round.
The Final Four gets going today with the top-ranked National University shooting for the first championship berth versus University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tamaraws moved within five, 68-63, going into the final minute after a 12-2 spurt fueled by Gryann Mendoza.
But Revilla responded with a dagger trey as the Tamaraws blew several chances from the field in the closing seconds.
La Salle went up by as many as 12 points in the first half, 37-25, after a fiery start where they shot 24 points from three-point range.
Revilla accounted for three of the Archers’ eight triples in the first half, while Thomas Torres and Matt Salem had a couple each.
Terrence Romeo finished with a game-high 22 points, but the season MVP struggled early as he missed all but one of nine attempts from the field in the first half.
The Bulldogs swept the Tigers in their elimination meetings, forging a narrow escape in the first round, 71-67, before logging a convincing 75-61 victory in the second.
But the Tigers, who clinched the last semifinal berth by ousting five-time champion Ateneo, 82-74, just last Wednesday, are confident of pulling off an upset behind Jeric Teng, Aljon Mariano and Karim Abdul.
“The Final Four is a different story,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio. “I think we have a chance of making it back to the Finals even if we’re going up against the No. 1 team.”
In juniors action, Ateneo ousted FEU, 69-64, in the stepladder semifinals yesterday to advance to the championship round.
The Blue Eaglets will take on the unbeaten NU squad in the Finals starting next Saturday.
As an incentive for sweeping all 14 elimination games, the Bullpups not only jumped straight to the title round but also earned a thrice-to-beat advantage.
LA SALLE 74–Revilla 20, Perkins 14, Teng 13, Van Opstal 6, T. Torres 6, Salem 6, Vosotros 4, N. Torres 3, Tampus 2, Dela Paz 0.
FEU 69–Romeo 22, Garcia 16, Belo 9, Tolomia 6, Mendoza 6, Pogoy 4, Hargrove 4, Cruz 2, Sentcheu 0.
Quarters: 18-11, 37-27, 60-49, 74-69