La Salle fends off Adamson for 3rd straight win
Defending champion De La Salle kept Adamson University at bay to come away with an 80-74 victory in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Green Archers chalked up their third straight win and improved to 8-2 to deny the Soaring Falcons (6-4), who missed a chance to gain a share of second place.
Adamson was down by four, 69-65, midway through the fourth quarter, but a timely triple from Rob Manalang and two free throws from Jonathan Espeleta put the Soaring Falcons ahead 72-71 with 2:19 left in the game.
That slim lead, however, would be the last of the Falcons’ reprieve as Andrei Caracut knocked down a clutch triple that gave the Green Archers a 74-72 lead with 1:48 left in the game.
Santi Santillan then pushed the dagger through Adamson’s heart with a layup giving La Salle a 76-72 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the game.
“This game was a test of our character, not just as individuals but as a team, and it really helped our team,” said Ricci Rivero in Filipino.
La Salle trailed majority of the game up until the 4:10 mark of the third when center Ben Mbala scored back-to-back baskets that gave the Green Archers a 50-48 lead.
Rivero paced La Salle with 17 points while Santillan finished with 16 points, 14 points in the second half, and 10 boards.
Mbala struggled from the field, going 3-of-10, but made up for it from the line going 9-of-12 to put up 15 points to go along with 17 rebounds.
Papi Sarr led Adamson with 17 points and 12 boards while Jerrick Ahanmisi also had 17 points.
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