Rookie Archers deliver vs Bombers; CEU wins
Two rookies showed promise as La Salle tripped Jose Rizal University, 67-62, yesterday to advance to the title match of the Luzon-Metro Manila regionals of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) at First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (Faith) gym in Tanauan City.
Ben Mbala and Joshua Torralba dished out solid debuts for the Archers, who kicked off their title defense with Robert Bolick and Jeron Teng also asserting themselves.
In the other match, Centro Escolar University carved out a convincing 68-56 triumph over St. Clare to pick up its second straight win in the stepladder, knockout games.
Rodrigue Ebondo collected 10 points, 13 rebounds and a couple of blocks as the Scorpions, the back-to-back champion of the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (Naascu), virtually controlled the entire game.
But La Salle remains favored over CEU when they fight for the regional crown, as well as the last Elite Eight berth, at 2 p.m. today at Faith gym.
The winner will join the nationwide finalists, led by UAAP champion National University and NCAA titlist San Beda, in the tournament’s crossover phase starting this Thursday in Cebu.
Other Elite Eight contenders are Far Eastern University, Arellano, Southwestern University, University of San Carlos and University of Visayas.
Mbala, a Cameroonian center who used to play for Cebu’s SWU, finished with nine points and 14 rebounds for the Archers.
The Filipino-American guard Torralba, also a transferee from Emilio Aguinaldo College, combined for 18 points with Mbala in the first half to lift the Archers to a 38-26 edge at the break.
Despite playing minus key cogs Jason Perkins, Arnold Van Opstal and Almond Vosotros, the Archers raced to double-digit leads as high as 17 points, 53-36.
The Bombers got the lead down to four, 66-62, with 7.9 ticks left, but the rally came too late as Thomas Torres’ free throw set the final tally.
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