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Archers boot out Tams

Streaking La Salle nails first UAAP Finals berth
By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 01:25 AM September 26, 2013

TERRENCE Romeo of FEU finds his path blocked by the La Salle double team of Norbert Torres (left) and Jason Perkins. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

This season’s hottest team came back with a sizzling run to claim the first title berth in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

La Salle rallied from a double-digit deficit and ousted Far Eastern University with a 71-68 decision yesterday at Mall of Asia Arena to book a return trip to the Finals for the first time in five years.

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Jeron Teng, Norbert Torres and LA Revilla fueled a huge second-half onslaught as the Green Archers came back from 11 points down, 38-49, on the way to stretching this season’s longest streak to nine games.

“It was just, again, opportunities,” said Revilla, the hero in Saturday’s playoff win that awarded the Archers the twice-to-beat bonus over the Tamaraws in the Final Four.

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“The team adjusted and credit to my teammates for sharing the ball and putting their trust on each other. We knew how important this game was and we didn’t want to take this for granted.”

The Archers will go up against the winner between the top-seeded National University and University of Santo Tomas, which will dispute the last championship berth in a do-or-die contest this Saturday.

“I’ve got to hand it to them, they played their hearts out in the last four to five minutes of the fourth quarter that’s why we pulled this through,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.

Indeed, the Archers made the most out of their late chances as the Tamaraws fumbled with topnotch guards RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo struggling from the field late in the game after Carl Cruz, who shot a perfect 5-of-5 in the first half, and Gryann Mendoza, who kept FEU afloat in the third quarter, had fouled out.

Teng pumped in 15 points, including four straight that gave the Archers the lead, 69-66, with 1:56 left. The King Archer also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists.

Revilla dropped 10 of his 15 points in the second half on top of eight boards, while Torres also had 15 points and seven boards.

“I think what’s more important this year is we represented the school better,” said FEU coach Nash Racela as the Tamaraws bowed after a promising 7-0 start to sweep the first round this season.

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“We were in control for most of the game, they were struggling against our defense almost the whole game and our players executed properly. But that’s the story of basketball, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

The Tamaraws moved within two after a Romeo basket, 70-68, with 5.8 ticks left, before Jason Perkins nailed an insurance free throw for La Salle.

Romeo tried to forge overtime but missed his three-point attempt at the buzzer.

Earlier, NU routed Adamson, 66-47, to clinch the last title berth in the women’s division.

Kristine Abrian had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Anne Gupilan shot 14 to power the top-ranked Lady Bulldogs in their winner-take-all semifinals.

The Lady Bulldogs will shoot for their first crown starting Saturday versus No. 2 La Salle, which ousted University of Santo Tomas, 81-74, in their semifinal duel last week.

The scores:

LA SALLE 71—N. Torres 15, Teng 15, Revilla 15, Perkins 8, Van Opstal 6, Vosotros 5, T. Torres 4, Montalbo 3, Tampus 0, Salem 0, Dela Paz 0.

FEU 68—Cruz 16, Romeo 14, Garcia 10, Mendoza 8, Pogoy 6, Belo 5, Hargrove 4, Tolomia 3, Jose 2, Inigo 0, Sentcheu 0.

Quarters: 18-21, 31-38, 52-56, 71-68

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