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Archers notch 3rd straight win, rally past Falcons on Santillan heroics

Santi Santillan issued a double-double and clutch shots in La Salle's escape over Adamson.

By Sabrina Suarez

QUEZON CITY-- "May plan pala si Coach na, pag pasok niya, knowing yung character kasi ni Santi na he'll do everything just to win, just to get the rebound, just to help the team. Yun talaga nag matter, yung end game eh. Yung rebound, yung crucial shot ni Santi."

That was how Ricci Rivero described Santi Santillan's play. Ricci Rivero, who finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist, was nothing but praise for his teammate Santi Santillan, who finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, and 2 assists; as they notched a come-from-behind win against the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 74-80, yesterday, October 21 at the Big Dome.

The way the game went earlier was far from how the Archers played when they went against the Falcons in the first round last September 20 in the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The defending champions had a rough start as they could not execute the offense they wanted as Adamson was playing intense man-to-man defense beginning in the first half. While the Falcons started with a familiar 5 that composed of Ahanmisi, Bernardo, Pingoy, Ochea, and Sarr; the Archers had a different, but familiar face starting alongside Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Ben Mbala, and Santi Santillan; which was Justin Baltazar.

Despite having a rough opening quarter, the Archers were able to open the 2nd period on a better note, with, at that time, Ricci Rivero leading the scoreboards with 4 points for his team. With the teams having a heated 2nd quarter, both teams ended the half with a tied ball game of 35 all.

Ricci Rivero topscored for the Archers with 17 markers. 

At the beginning of the 2nd half, the Archers were only able to make a small run in the latter part of the 3rd period, but were still down by 2, 48-46, in the 4:53 mark. Also late into the quarter was where Ricci Rivero, and older brother, Prince Rivero were in foul trouble. The first lead of the Archers was given by Ben Mbala with a lay-up, at the 4:10 mark in the same quarter. Both teams closed out the quarter with the Archers having a 4-point lead, 54-58.

When the 4th quarter arrived, La Salle was crawling their way to extend the lead as Adamson was intensifying their defense once again, forcing multiple turnovers for the Archers. Late into the 4th quarter, La Salle's co-Captain Prince Rivero fouled out with 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. The Archers' big man, Ben Mbala later fouled out with a double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds, and 2 assists. With only 44 seconds left in the game, La Salle's other big man, Santi Santillan stops and scores over Adamson's Tyrus Hill. The Archers close out the game with a 6 point difference, 74-80.

When La Salle's Santillan was asked to give an assessment regarding his performance in earlier's game, he said "Ginawa ko yung mga pinapagawa sakin ni Coach. Rebounding; sipag lang talaga." Santi also added that if his co-big man Ben Mbala gets doubled, he takes advantage of the opportunity when he's left open.

Both teams' next games will be on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. La Salle will be going against the UE Red Warriors at 2pm, while Adamson will face the UST Growling Tigers right after, at 4pm.

The Scores:

DLSU (80) - Ri. Rivero 17, Santillan 16, Mbala 15, Montalbo 10, Ra. Rivero 7, Melecio 5, Tratter 5, Caracut 3, Baltazar 2, Go 0

AdU (74) - Sarr 17, Ahanmisi 17, Espeleta 12, Manalang 11, Hill 8, Lojera 3, Ochea 2, Manganti 2, Mustre 0, Chua 0, Pingoy 0, Zaldivar 0, Frias 0

Quarter Scores: 13-17, 35-35, 58-54, 80-74

Follow her on Twitter: @_sabrinaysabel