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Green Archers dominate winless Tigers anew

FILE — La Salle’s Ben Mbala dunks the ball against UST in the first round of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

De La Salle dealt University of Santo Tomas with a merciless 94-59 beatdown in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Green Archers won their fifth straight game and improved to 10-2 to move closer to a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four while the Growling Tigers continued their slump and fell to 0-12.

The defending champions outscored UST, 25-8, in the second quarter and that was enough for La Salle to put the game away.

Jollo Go gave the Green Archers their biggest lead, 85-43, after hitting back-to-back triples with 6:39 left.

“Coach [Aldin Ayo] told us to not take this team lightly because they have nothing to lose,” said La Salle guard Ricci Rivero. “He just reminded us to stick to the system and play proper defense.”

La Salle held UST to just 34% from the field and forced the Growling Tigers to turn the ball over 24 times.

The Archers also outrebounded the Growling Tigers, 61-49.

“We were able to get them to make a lot of turnovers, and we were able to convert in transition,” said center Ben Mbala after La Salle scored 24 off UST’s turnovers. “We were able to play well as a team, stay focused and stuck to the game plan.”

Mbala had 17 points, nine boards, and three blocks in 19 minutes of play to lead La sale while Rivero added 16 points and seven rebounds. 

La Salle forward Abu Tratter came two points shy of a double-double after putting up eight points and 15 boards.

Marvin Lee seemed as if the lone player from UST who put up a fight as he finished with a game-high 25 points with seven rebounds while Steve Akomo finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Archers swept the Tigers this season with an average winning margin of 36.3 points.

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