Archers exact revenge on Eagles
Jeron Teng got off to an explosive start as La Salle seized control early before surviving Ateneo’s gritty endgame stand in an 88-86 decision that forged a three-way tie for the top spot in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Flashing his best scoring form yet this season, Teng erupted for 32 points, 21 coming in the first half where La Salle zoomed to double-digit leads as high as 13 points, 32-19.
“In the first half, I saw openings for me, that’s why I took it,” said Teng after the defending champion Green Archers streaked to their sixth straight triumph while avenging their first-round loss to the Blue Eagles, 86-97.
Far Eastern University earlier outlasted National University in overtime, 74-70, behind the heroics of Mac Belo and Carl Bryan Cruz as the Tamaraws grabbed a share of the league-best 6-2 record with La Salle and erstwhile solo leader Ateneo.
Belo pumped in 23 points, the last two on insurance free throws with 6.4 ticks left after an underneath basket from NU center Alfred Aroga pushed the Bulldogs within two, 72-70, time down to 13.2 seconds.
Cruz, the topscorer in FEU’s first-round win over NU, 71-62, again starred at crunchtime. He buried a baseline jumper with 59.3 seconds left to forge overtime, 55-55, before taking over in the extra period where he drilled five of the Tamaraws’ nine points.
When Teng cooled off, Jason Perkins, Julian Sargent and Robert Bolick came through for the Archers, who even yielded the lead twice to their fierce rivals but found ways to clip the comeback.
Perkins wound up with 18 points, including a clutch jumper and a free throw inside the last 31 seconds that gave the Archers an 85-81 cushion.
Teng, who also posted six rebounds and five assists, nailed a pair of cushion free throws with 8.1 seconds left, 87-83, after a Chris Newsome basket trimmed the gap to just 85-83.
The Archers held Ateneo star and MVP leader Kiefer Ravena scoreless in the first quarter where the Eagles struggled with a paltry 22-percent shooting clip.
“Ravena will always be Ravena, so the best we could do was challenge his shots and hope that he misses,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.
Mike Tolomia fired 18 points on top of seven boards and five assists for the Tamaraws, while Cruz and Roger Pogoy finished with nine points each.
“We have a lot of unsung heroes like Bryan Cruz, Roger Pogoy and Achie Iñigo who aren’t talked about much because of Mac and Mike,” said FEU coach Nash Racela. “But our other players consistently deliver for us.”
“We really trust each other in the team,” said Belo, the standout forward who also had 10 rebounds and three assists.
The Bulldogs, who dropped to fourth at 5-3, had a chance to win it in regulation but Angelo Alolino missed his attempt at the buzzer.
FEU 74—Belo 23, Tolomia 18, Cruz 9, Pogoy 9, Hargrove 8, Jose 4, Iñigo 3, Tamsi 0, Dennison 0, Escoto 0, Denila 0.
NU 70—Aroga 17, Alolino 14, Rosario 14, Javelona 8, Alejandro 7, Khobuntin 4, Diputado 3, Perez 3, Betayene 0, Neypes 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 32-27, 53-50, 65-65 (reg.) 74-70 (OT)
LA SALLE 88—Teng 32, Perkins 18, Sargent 11, Bolick 10, Rivero 9, Vosotros 6, N. Torres 2, Montalbo 0, Mustre 0, Tratter 0.
ATENEO 86—K. Ravena 22, Newsome 15, Elorde 14, Gotladera 10, Pessumal 10, Tolentino 7, Capacio 6, Babilonia 2, Apacible 0, Lim 0, T. Ravena 0.
Quarters: 19-10, 44-36, 66-61, 88-86