La Salle fends off Adamson for 3rd straight win
Defending champion De La Salle kept Adamson University at bay to come away with an 80-74 victory in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Green Archers chalked up their third straight win and improved to 8-2 to deny the Soaring Falcons (6-4), who missed a chance to gain a share of second place.
Adamson was down by four, 69-65, midway through the fourth quarter, but a timely triple from Rob Manalang and two free throws from Jonathan Espeleta put the Soaring Falcons ahead 72-71 with 2:19 left in the game.
That slim lead, however, would be the last of the Falcons’ reprieve as Andrei Caracut knocked down a clutch triple that gave the Green Archers a 74-72 lead with 1:48 left in the game.
Santi Santillan then pushed the dagger through Adamson’s heart with a layup giving La Salle a 76-72 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the game.
“This game was a test of our character, not just as individuals but as a team, and it really helped our team,” said Ricci Rivero in Filipino.
La Salle trailed majority of the game up until the 4:10 mark of the third when center Ben Mbala scored back-to-back baskets that gave the Green Archers a 50-48 lead.
Rivero paced La Salle with 17 points while Santillan finished with 16 points, 14 points in the second half, and 10 boards.
Mbala struggled from the field, going 3-of-10, but made up for it from the line going 9-of-12 to put up 15 points to go along with 17 rebounds.
Papi Sarr led Adamson with 17 points and 12 boards while Jerrick Ahanmisi also had 17 points.
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.