La Salle foils Pasaol, UE
Not even the highest individual scoring performance in recent memory was enough to stop La Salle from sustaining its winning run ahead of its showdown with fierce rival Ateneo in UAAP Season 80.
University of the East forward Alvin Pasaol exploded for 49 points, but the Green Archers also drew career-best outputs from Ben Mbala and Abu Tratter in a 106-100 victory Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mbala pumped in 39 points in 23 minutes, marking the third time this season that he reset a personal scoring high, while front court partner Tratter fired 24 points as the Archers pulled away early before surviving a late onslaught by the Warriors anchored by Pasaol, who scored 18 points in the final frame.
While La Salle picked up its fifth win in six games ahead of its finals rematch with Ateneo on Sunday, it was Pasaol’s brilliance for the still winless Warriors that made what was an otherwise routine victory for the Archers even more memorable.
“He was just in the zone,” Mbala said of Pasaol, who shot 20-of-30 from the field.
“He was shooting very well and we didn’t do a good job. Knowing that La Salle is a defensive minded team, we have to do better than that. We should have gotten him out of his comfort zone.”
University of the East coach Derrick Pumaren hopes the fighting performance against the Archers will serve as a “springboard” for the Warriors as they face fellow cellar-dweller University of Santo Tomas on Saturday.
“This is the first time that even though we lost, I was really proud of the way we played,” said Pumaren.
“The team that has been missing the past five games showed up. Alvin (Pasaol) was awesome tonight. He could have scored 60, but he really gave us a really good show.”
“I wouldn’t have done it without my teammates’ help,” said Pasaol, who also had eight rebounds and four steals.
Earlier, Sean Manganti scored on a putback with a second remaining as Adamson nipped University of the Philippines, 73-71, to gain a share of third spot with Far Eastern U.
Manganti’s tip-in off a Papi Sarr miss broke the deadlock and boosted the Falcons to their fourth victory in six games, while sending the Fighting Maroons to a second straight defeat for a 3-3 slate.
“I guess we were lucky to win that game,” said Adamson coach Franz Pumaren. “I guess this is a good test on our part that in crucial moments of the game, we can survive.”
Manganti also broke up the Maroons’ final play intended for Paul Desiderio as they collected their third straight victory.