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Green Archers drop Bulldogs, force playoff with Tamaraws

By Ivan Saldajeno

La Salle nailed the third UAAP Final Four berth with a 68-56 downing of NU in the nightcap of the UAAP games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Green Archers took a 20-17 lead after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs outscored them, 14-11, in the second to force a 31-all deadlock at the half.

The game remained tied in the first three and a half minutes of the third period.

La Salle then ignited a 12-2 run later in the third to open a 49-39 lead.

NU ended the third canto with four straight points to come to within six, 43-49, entering the fourth.

The Bulldogs opened the final quarter with a split by Glenn Khobuntin from the free throw line.

But two consecutive field goals from Green Archer Norbert Torres sparked a game-turning 19-5 rally to put the game out of reach.

On a night when Jeron Teng went silent, Almond Vosotros led La Salle with 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc along with three rebounds and a steal.

Teng, who had 20-point games recently, only tallied nine points.

But the La Sallian top player made all his four free throws and added five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.

Arnold Van Opstal contributed 14 markers on 6-of-11 shooting, six boards, and three assists for the Green Archers, who will face the FEU Tamaraws in a virtual best-of-3 Final Four series starting with a playoff for the second twice-to-beat advantage come the semifinal proper.

Gelo Alolino scored a game-high 18 points, two rebounds, and a steal for NU.

But Alolino failed to give an assist, missed all his five three-pointers, and committed four errors as the Bulldogs have to wait for the result of the UE-UST game on Tuesday to decide their fate.

A win by the Red Warriors against the Growling Tigers in the 2:00 PM affair will force a rubber match for the last Final Four berth.

Otherwise, the Bulldogs will get the fourth semifinal seat outright and will face the Ateneo Blue Eagles, owners of a twice-to-beat advantage, in the next round.

Box Scores:

La Salle 68-Vosotros 15, Van Opstal 14, N. Torres 13, Teng 9, Perkins 8, Montalbo 5, Sargent 4, Rivero 0, Bolick 0, Mustre 0, Tratter 0

NU 56-Alolino 18, Rosario 14, Javelona 8, Aroga 8, Khobuntin 4, Betayene 4, Diputado 0, Celda 0, Neypes 0, Perez 0

Quarterscores: 20-17, 31-31, 49-43, 68-56
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