La Salle stays unscathed, tames Bulldogs

Jeron Teng went to his usual self in the pay-off period despite being hounded by foul trouble.
By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY-- After steamroling their victims in their past two wins, La Salle was tested this time around. 

The Archers battled back from a nine-point third quarter deficit, and then banked on its menacing defense in the payoff period en route to a 75-66 victory over National University to stay undefeated in the UAAP Season LXXIX men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Jeron Teng battled early foul trouble as the graduating forward drilled eight of his 23 points in the final seven minutes of the match to give the Taft-based ballclub its fourth consecutive win, while sending the Bulldogs to its first loss in three outings in what observers viewed as the preview of the finals.
After a nip-and-tuck first half, NU mounted a third-quarter storm to grab a 52-43 advantage with 4:12 left, only for the Archers to answer back with its own 9-2 salvo to come within 52-54 at quarter’s end.
Then things went La Salle’s way in the final canto, as its dreaded ‘Mayhem’ defense allowed NU to only nine points, while scoring 21 points of their own. Teng scored back-to-back hits to snatch the lead for good, 60-57.
Ricci Rivero, Abu Tratter, and Kib Montalbo were instrumental in the late-game push, providing the needed defense, while conniving with Teng on a 13-5 finish kick for a 73-63 cushion, time down to only 45.9 ticks.
Cameroonian behemoth Ben Mbala had another double-double of 16 points nd 15 rebounds despite being saddled with foul trouble. Rivero and Tratter each scored six markers, while Montalbo accounted for five.
Ex-Green Archer Matt Salem paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, while J-jay Alejandro cashed in 14, and Rev Diputado 10. Alfred Aroga struggled in his one-on-one match-up with Mbala, scoring only two points.
The win was La Salle’s first victory over NU this year, following setbacks in two pre-season tournaments.  
The Scores:
La Salle 75 – Teng 23, Mbala 16, Tratter 6, Rivero R 6, Montalbo 5, Torres 4, Melecio 4, Caracut 3, Go 3, Baltazar 3, Rivero P 2, Sargent 0
NU 66 – Salem 15, Alejandro 14, Diputado R 10, Morido 7, Sinclair 6, Abatayo 4, Aquino 3, Aroga 2, Salim 2, Diputado C 2, Mosqueda 1, Rangel 0, Yu 0, Gallego 0
Quarterscores: 17-16, 37-37, 52-54, 75-66
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