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La Salle spoils UP's comeback bid in OT thriller

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--La Salle held off a huge UP rally to escape with an 82-79 overtime win in their FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup battle at the FilOil Flying V Arena on Friday night.

The Green Archers squandered a nine-point cushion built in the third quarter as the Fighting Maroons slowly crawled back to the game and opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run to lead, 63-59.

UP nearly held on as La Salle missed crucial free throws down the stretch, but Andrei Caracut tied the match, 70-all, with a triple and Prince Rivero put La Salle up, 71-70 with a split from the line.

Janjan Jaboneta, who had an impressive game in guarding Jeron Teng, scored on a follow-up to put the Maroons back up, 72-71, with 34.1 seconds left.

However, Caracut got fouled by Dave Moralde, and the rookie made one more free throw to tie the match anew, 72-all, with 32.9 seconds remaining.

Henry Asilum badly missed a potential go-ahead jumper in the next play, but UP still forced overtime as its defense disrupted La Salle's final play in the regulation.

The Green Archers threatened to take the win as they led, 79-75, with 1:56 left in the extra period, but J.R. Gallarza punched in a triple to cut the lead down to one, 79-78. Caracut stretched the lead back to three after scoring on a turnaround jumper.

UP had a chance to force another overtime period, but Paul Desiderio missed a triple from the corner. Jaboneta got the ball back and got fouled. Jaboneta, after making the first free throw, intentionally missed the second, but the Green Archers secured the rebound and Prince Rivero scored a free throw to seal the win for La Salle.

Rivero sizzled for 25 points and 18 rebounds for the Green Archers, who have now won two straight after an opening night loss to San Beda.

Jett Manuel led the Fighting Maroons, who lost Kyles Lao to a knee injury, Jerson Prado to a back injury, and Cheick Kone to a shoulder injury, with 18 points.

Box Scores:

La Salle 82–Rivero 25, Caracut 15, Torralba 10, Muyang 10, Teng 10, Tratter 7, Go 2, Torres 2, Navarro 1, Pascual 0, Montalbo 0

UP 79–Manuel 18, Desiderio 17, Gallarza 11, Jaboneta 8, Kone 6, Moralde 5, Asilum 4, Tekoudjou 2, Vito 2, Lao 2, Amar 0, Lim 0, Prado 0, Juruena 0, Harris 0

Quarterscores: 13-15, 35-32, 59-53, 72-72, 82-79