DLSU seizes playoff spot after stopping Pasaol hype train

DLSU seizes playoff spot after stopping Pasaol hype train
FLEX YOUR MUSCLE. Ricci Rivero teamed up with Ben Mbala and DLSU's other big men as DLSU overpowered UE.

There wasn’t going to be another record-setting day at the expense of De La Salle University in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Ben Mbala made sure of that and showed the way at both ends as the Green Archers turned down the hype on Alvin Pasaol-led University of the East, 99-78, on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.

The last time the two teams met, Pasaol dropped a milestone mark 49 points on the defending champions.

That wasn’t going to happen again in this one as Mbala, all six-feet eight-inches of him, was all over the King Warrior.

Pasaol still had 23 points, but had to work for each and every shot he put up as he shot 8-of-19 from the field and turned the ball over five times.

At the other end, the Cameroonian powerhouse imposed his will and pounded in 12 of his 25 points in the first half.

Ricci Rivero and Aljun Melecio were right there with him as DLSU blitzed their way onto a 14-4 start in the first four minutes.

They wouldn’t relinquish both the momentum and the lead for the remainder of the game.

Rivero wound up with 13 points, six rebounds, four steals, and three assists while Melecio, still working his way back from a battle with dengue, had seven markers and three dimes of his own.

Also helping the cause were big men Santi Santillan who continued to open eyes with a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double and Justine Baltazar who had 13 points, three rebounds, and three blocks.

With the win, their ninth in 11 game, the Taft-based team is now assured of making it into the next round.

Mark Olayon was the only other UE player in double-digits with 18 points on top of seven assists.

Without the same sort of firepower, however, they have been pushed to the brink of elimination now at 3-8 in the standings.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 99 – Mbala 25, Santillan 14, Rivero R 13, Baltazar 13, Melecio 7, Tratter 6, Montalbo 5, Rivero P 4, Caracut 3, Go 3, Gonzales 3, Paraiso 2, Tero 1, Capacio 0

UE 78 – Pasaol 23, Olayon 18, Derige 9, Varilla 8, Maloles 6, Acuno 6, Cullar 4, Bartolome 2, Cruz 2, Manalang 0, Conner 0, Gagate 0

QUARTER SCORES: 28-18, 53-34, 77-55, 99-78

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