La Salle comes back to pip Ateneo

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—La Salle banked on the heroics of Josh Torralba to complete an endgame rally against Ateneo for an 80-76 win in their UAAP battle in front of 17,728 people at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

The former EAC General knocked down the go-ahead trey with 33.9 seconds left as the Green Archers came back from 15 points down to tie the Blue Eagles in third place at 4-3 midway to the season.

Ateneo built a 31-16 cushion early in the second quarter as Kiefer Ravena and Gwynne Capacio led the team's early charge.

But La Salle slowly chipped the lead and eventually took a 51-48 lead on back-to-back triples from Jason Perkins.

Both teams went toe-to-toe later charthe third before the Eagles appeared to have restored control with a 61-56 advantage.

Both teams again grinded it out in the fourth until Chibueze Ikeh scored on a layup to put Ateneo up, 76-74, with 1:27 left.

Ikeh then forced a turnover on Jason Perkins, but Ravena failed to capitalize on the error as Ravena missed back-to-back baskets, opening the door for Torralba's heroics.

Ravena's late struggles continued as he misfired a short jumper, and Jeron Teng, who had a slump from the line, made two clutch charities for a 79-76 lead with 10.6 seconds to go.

Ravena had one more chance to force overtime, but he missed a tough three-pointer in the waning seconds. Torralba sealed the win with a free throw.

Teng led La Salle with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and one steal.

Ravena had 19 markers for Ateneo, but he was 7-of-24 from the field.

Box Scores:

La Salle 80-Teng 18, Torres 15, Perkins 13, Rivero 10, Torralba 9, Caracut 6, Tratter 4, Navarro 3, Muyang 2, Sargent 0

Ateneo 76-Ravena 19, Ikeh 13, Capacio 10, Pessumal 8, Gotladera 8, A. Tolentino 7, Pingoy 6, Babilonia 2, Apacible 2, Ma. Nieto 1, Cani 0

Quarterscores: 13-25, 36-46, 61-61, 80-76