Posted Dec 11th 2013
La Salle topples UST to force Game 3
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Oct 5th 2013
It’s not yet over.
De La Salle University made sure there won’t be any celebration on Saturday as the Archers pounced on University of Santo Tomas (UST)’ inside woes to conquer Game 2 of the 76th UAAP men’s basketball finals at the Araneta Coliseum.
La Salle dragged UST’s frontline into early foul trouble and systematically milked the post to knock out the upset-conscious Tigers, 77-70, and force a winner-take-all Game 3.It’s not yet over.
De La Salle University made sure there won’t be a celebration on Saturday as the Archers pounced on University of Santo Tomas (UST)’ inside woes to grab Game 2 of the 76th UAAP men’s basketball finals at the Araneta Coliseum.
La Salle dragged UST’s frontline into early foul trouble and systematically milked the post to knock out the upset-conscious Tigers, 77-70, and force a winner-take-all Game 3.
Jeron Teng, Norbert Torres, and Arnold Van Opstal unleashed the killer blows around the paint for La Salle which also lorded over the boards to deny the foul-plagued UST of second-chance opportunities while taking away the Tigers’ three-point shooting.
“We just tried to take away their three-point shooting. Them we shared the ball,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler, who rotated only seven players but still got the result he wanted after UST shot an atrocious 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Teng led La Salle with 19 points but it was the twin-tower combination of Torres and Van Opstal who did most of the damage to UST, outplaying Karim Abdul and the rest of the Tigers’ frontline with a variety of inside moves.
Nicknamed “The Bear”, Torres imposed his size underneath en route to 16 points and ten rebounds while the hook-shot savvy Van Opstal chipped in with 13 plus 14 boards. Overall, the two combined for 24 of the Archers 57 rebounds against only 39 for UST.
“We just played aggressively because we know there’s no tomorrow. Our backs are against the wall,” said Torres who also had seven offensive rebounds and four blocks.
With Abdul thrown off his game due to foul trouble, the Archers repeatedly pounded the leather on Torres, who triggered a 13-4 avalanche that buried UST under a 36-19 La Salle lead, its biggest in the contest.
Yet UST countered with a 12-2 attack behind Jeric Teng’s seven-point onslaught to narrow the gap, 31-38, going into the halftime break.
Back-to-back triples by Teng and Clark Bautista with 7:30 in the third put UST just within a point, 43-44. But La Salle uncorked a 13-2 salvo anchored on Van Opstal, Torres, and Almond Vosotros to restore its double-digit advantage, 57-45.
Again UST closed in, 51-59, with baskets from Abdul, Ferrer, and Mariano. But the Tigers’ momentum quickly fizzled out after Ferrer was slapped an unsportsmanlike foul during a heated scramble for possession with 1:13 left in the third.
Seconds later, Torres fished Aljon Mariano’s fourth foul and completed a three-point play to push La Salle up by eleven, heading into the payoff period.
Hardly checking La Salle’s bigs in the paint, the Tigers trailed by no less than 63-73, in the entire fourth. Credit that also to La Salle’s timely defensive stops which snuffed UST’s last-ditch run in the final 3:27 for the win.
“Di namin na-stop yung bigs nila inside. Masama ang start namin. Masyado rin kaming na-foul trouble ng maaga,” rued UST coach Pido Jarencio, noting the Tigers’ seven fouls in the first quarter alone. “Si Kevin (Ferrer) and daming tinira, wala halos pumasok.”
Ferrer finished with just six points on a distraction-filled 1-of-7 clip from the field while missing all his three three-point attempts in 28 minutes.
UST’s Teng top-scored with a game-high 28 points while Abdul added 13 and nine rebounds. Mariano, who fouled out with 2:22 in the fourth, wound up with just nine points and eight boards.
Vosotros meanwhile tallied 11 while LA Revilla logged in nine markers and four assists on top of ten rebounds.
DLSU 77- Teng 19, N.Torres 16, Van Opstal 13, Vosotros 11, Revilla 9, Perkins 7, T.Torres 2.
UST 70 – Teng 28, Abdul 13, Mariano 9, Sheriff 6, Ferrer 6, Bautista 6, Lo 2, Pe 0, Daquioag 0.
Quarter scores: 21-12, 41-33, 64-53, 77-70.
La Salle early lead, a good sign for retaining overall title