Rivero stars as Archers survive hefty challenge from Pirates in OT thriller
Ricci Rivero dropped 23 points as the Green Archers overcome the Pirates.
De La Salle University survived a hefty challenge from the erstwhile undefeated Lyceum of the Philippines University to escape with the come-from-behind, 121-119 win in overtime, Friday at the Flying V Centre in San Juan.
With starters Ben Mbala and Aljun Melecio on the bench in the extra period, the Archers were carried by Ricci Rivero and Andrei Caracut to win their third straight game and improve their FilOil Premier Cup record to 3-1
Lyceum was ahead, 115-113 with three minutes to go in overtime before Rivero scored a layup to tie the game with 2:40 to go.
Then came Caracut to replace Melecio, who fouled out. Right off the bench, Caracut scored back-to-back three-pointers to complete the Green Archers’ comeback win.
Rivero led La Salle in scoring with 23 points, Ben Mbala finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds to help La Salle overcome CJ Perez and the tenacious Pirates.
“He [Rivero] has matured a lot, alam na niya kung kailan titira, kailan papasa, maganda ‘yung decision-making nung bata at maganda na rin ang attitude,” DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo said.
Early on, the Archers had no answer to Lyceum’s fast-paced play.
Down by fifteen points entering the fourth quarter, 87-72, DLSU scored 10 unanswered points, capped off by a layup by Mbala to give the Archers the 101-99 lead with 2:20 left in regulation.
But the Pirates were not letting up. Perez stripped Melecio for a breakaway slam, and Wilson Baltazar drained a triple with 46 seconds to go to cut the Archers’ lead to one, 105-104.
Lyceum had a chance to win the game in regulation with the score tied at 107. But Reymar Caduyac’s layup attempt slipped from his hands and flew way off.
Perez scored a game-high 25 points, while Jasper Ayaay and Harry Nzeusseu added 22 and 18 points respectively as Lyceum suffer their first loss, falling to a 3-1 slate.
“Nag pick-up kami ‘dun sa latter part ng laro, pero yung first half namin and umpisa ng third quarter namin kulang ng effort,” DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo said. “You may have the talent or the skill, pero if your opponent wants it more, mahihirapan. Good thing nung latter part ng laro we showed our resiliency and our being competitive.”
LA SALLE (121) - Rivero 23, Mbala 19, Melecio 19, Santillan 17, Montalbo 16, Caracut 14, Baltazar 6, Tratter 5, Gonzales 2, Go 0.
LYCEUM (119) - Perez 25, Ayaay 22, Nzeusseu 18, Caduyac 14, JV Marcelino 13, JC Marcelino 8, Baltazar 8, Tansingco 6, Santos 3, Marata 2, Ibanez 0, Serrano 0, Liwag 0.
27-32, 48-52, 72-87, 107-107, 121-119.