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La Salle survives wild Final Four clash with Adamson to enter UAAP finals

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By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—La Salle nailed the first UAAP men's basketball finals berth.

But, as Coach Aldin Ayo said after the game, not in a way expected for the top seed.

The Green Archers survived a lethargic outing to eliminate the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 69-64, in the first semifinal at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday night.

La Salle actually had three chances to pull away, opening seven-point cushions in each of the first three quarters.

But Adamson never gave up, mounting rallies and even took the lead at some points in the match.

But it boiled down to the wild finale, when the Archers were bailed out despite committing three turnovers in the last 1:45 of the game as the Falcons missed five three-point tries in the said timeframe.

"That was a horrible game for us. [It's] very unfortunate for us na mangyayari ito sa Final Four," said Ayo, whose team committed 26 errors overall.

Jeron Teng led La Salle with 25 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one block, although he had seven turnovers.

Ben Mbala added 21 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks, and one steal.

Sean Manganti had 13 markers, six boards, three dimes, and one steal for Adamson.

La Salle will await the winner of the Final Four series between Ateneo and FEU.

The Blue Eagles, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, can force a finals showdown with their arch rivals with a win on Saturday, 3:30 p.m. at the said venue.

Box Scores:

La Salle 69-Teng 25, Mbala 21, Torres 6, Melecio 6, Tratter 4, Montalbo 3, P. Rivero 2, R. Rivero 2, Caracut 0, Paraiso 0, Perkins 0

Adamson 64-Manganti 13, Manalang 12, Sarr 11, Ahanmisi 9, Espeleta 9, Ochea 5, Tungcab 3, Bernardo 2, Mustre 0, Paranada 0, Camacho 0, Barrere 0, Chua 0, Ng 0

Quarterscores: 22-20, 37-33, 50-51, 69-64

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