Finally! DLSU ends a 3-game losing streak, beats UP 72-68 to stay alive.
It was the second to the last game of the elimination round. A must-win. Against UP. To keep our Final Four dreams alive. Can this season get any more emotional for the La Salle community?
La Salle kept its Final Four dreams alive as the De La Salle Green Archers defeated the UP Fighting Maroons 72-68. The game was effectively a measure of payback for the first round loss, where UP defeated DLSU in what was considered as a monumental upset during that time. During the game, the sportscasters mentioned that the last time UP swept DLSU during the elimination round of the UAAP was way back in 1986, the year UP won the UAAP championship. After that upset, UP led the league with a 2-0 record, but from that point on, spun out of contention and was battling with Adamson to stay out of the cellar. Fortunately, La Salle was able to exact revenge for their disappointing loss to the Maroons.
La Salle started the first quarter strong, thanks to the hot hands of Jeron Teng, Prince Rivero and Joshua Torralba. The Archers led by as many as 15 points during the first quarter, as the quarter ended with a 19-6 lead for the green and white. Unfortunately for the Archers, it was a tale of two quarters during the first half. UP made a furious rally during the second quarter, uncorking a 13-3 run to threaten at the half ended with the Archers clinging on a slim 27-26 lead.
UP even managed to grab the lead during the third period, and we were treated to a gritty third quarter by both teams. Bridging the second and third quarters, UP made a 20-4 run, reminiscent of what our opponents have successfully done against this team.
Then UP’s momentum was momentarily interrupted due to a clarification by our coaches regarding uniform issues by some UP players, who apparently wore the wrong set of shorts. The respite allowed the Archers to mount a 17-9 counter-run to regain the lead, but UP answered with a run of its own to wrest the lead at the end of the third quarter, 60-56.
La Salle took control of the last quarter, thanks to the efforts of Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres and Prince Rivero with a seemingly commanding 9-point lead, 69-60 with less than 4 minutes to go in the ball game. But UP would fight back to cut the lead to just 3 points, 69-66 with 32 seconds left. Fortunately for La Salle, UP lapsed in errors down the stretch, and Jeron Teng was able to seal the deal with some clutch free throws to keep the Final Four dream of the Archers alive.
Prince Rivero had monster double-double game as he scored 18 points and grabbed 16 huge rebounds. Jeron Teng was in his usual scorer mode, as he dropped 20 points. And even though he struggled with his shooting, Thomas Torres had a double-double game of his own, 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Next stop for La Salle is a date with last year’s Final Four tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws this Wednesday at the Smart- Araneta Coliseum. FEU clobbered the Archers 93-75 in their first round meeting, and has been dominating the league so far. It will be a tough matchup against the veteran Tamaraw team. Depending on the remaining games of NU and UE, that game might either be a do-or-die game for a playoff for the last Final Four slot, or a win might give us an outright Final Four slot. Either way, it is a very big game to say the least, and the Archers should be prepared to fight for the last Final Four slot.