UAAP: La Salle repeats over UST in rematch of last year’s finals
MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion La Salle drew enough contributions from its bench to fill the void left by its injured key players and beat University of Santo Tomas anew, 83-70, in a rematch of last year’s finals Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Starting forwards Jeron Teng and Jason Perkins combined for 37 points but their role players from rookies Prince Rivero and Julian Sargent to veterans Yutien Andrada and Robert Bolick provided quality minutes for the Green Archers.
“Big minutes those coming off the bench. When Norbert (Torres) got injured we asked Yutien to come in. Julian played an all-around game. He had to defend Ferrer and at the same time had a big shot in the corner,” commended DLSU head coach Juno Sauler, whose team chalked up its fifth consecutive win to end the first round in second-place tie with National University in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament standings at 5-2 just a game behind league-leading Ateneo.
Teng, who was named Finals MVP last year when he edged his older brother Jeric and the Growling Tigers in a best-of-three championship duel that went the distance, led the way for La Salle with 22 points that went with six rebounds and five assists.
Perkins added 15 points, including a basket on the low block against the lengthy but lighter Kevin Ferrer that put the Archers on top by double-digits, 72-62, before nailing the dagger of a trey for a 77-62 buffer with only 1:42 remaining.
Andrada also made his presence felt particularly at the defensive end while Sargent and Rivero did most of their damage at the offensive side.
Sargent scored nine of his 10 points in the final frame that helped La Salle create separation from UST. He nailed a trey from the left corner before completing a three-point play that gave the Archers a 70-61 advantage at the four-minute mark of the fourth period.
La Salle came into the game without starters Arnold Van Opstal for the third straight time due to an achilles injury and Thomas Torres, who’s sidelined for the fifth game in a row with a foot injury.
The Archers’ injury woes continued with Kib Montalbo, who has been flourishing as of late in place of Torres at the point guard spot, hurt his left calf early in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court by assistant coach Allan Caidic.
The Growling Tigers hoped to erase a heartbreaking loss to the Blue Eagles last Wednesday but they couldn’t keep up with the Green Archers in the second half.
UST’s Louie Vigil netted 16 points in the first half where both teams were tied at 35 but the returning swingman cooled off in the second half scoring just three points.
That’s when Aljon Mariano, who has rediscovered his game for the past two games, took the lead for the Tigers with 12 of his 20 points coming in the last two quarters.
With the loss, UST slipped to 3-3, with skidding University of the East, who dropped its fourth consecutive game earlier to Ateneo, as its next opponent on Wednesday in the final day of the first round of eliminations.