Archers escape fighting Pirates to set title showdown with San Beda

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 23, 2017 07:38 PM
Archers escape Pirates to set title showdown with San Beda
CLASSIC. Ricci Rivero and the rest of DLSU just had enough to weather the oncoming storm brought about by LPU.

Until the very end, De La Salle University had to battle for a place in the championship round of the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.

Good thing then both their veterans and newcomers were up to the task.

Aljun Melecio dropped 30 points, but it was rookie Santi Santillan’s timely short stab that allowed the Green Archers to weather the storm brought about by very game Lyceum of the Philippines University for a 100-99 decision on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions in the tournament found themselves down by two points inside the last minute before they turned on their trademark “mayhem.”

Trailing 97-99, the DLSU offense stalled in back-to-back possessions, but their defense came up big and forced back-to-back turnovers as well. The latter of which ended up with Santillan willing in a basket through MJ Ayaay while also fishing a foul.

The recruit from Cebu converted his charity to provide the Green Archers a one-point advantage.

Still, the Pirates had 10 seconds for a game-winner.

Santillan, Ben Mbala, and Aljun Melecio again came up big, however, and forced another turnover. “We’re going to learn a lot from this – the composure, the decision-making. Magagamit namin ito sa susunod pa,” head coach Aldin Ayo said.

Seconds later, the defending champions were on their way into another meeting with San Beda College in the Finals on Sunday at the same venue.

In the end, Mbala posted a 26-point, 16-rebound double-double while Ricci Rivero contributed 27 markers of his own.

The rookie who proved to be the unlikely hero added nine points and five rebounds to help DLSU get another extension in their already extended campaign.

The Green Archers were on the brink of elimination before two losses by their archrival Ateneo de Manila University handed over to them the last spot in the quarterfinals. “Alam niyo yung situation na you’re out already and you’re given the opportunity to come back? Ganun yung nangyayari sa amin,” Ayo said.

A win against Far Eastern University and an escape past LPU later, they are one win away from going back-to-back. “We will make sure we will make the most out of this opportunity,” Ayo expressed.

For LPU, CJ Perez did it all and tallied 24 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and six steals. Wilson Baltazar and Ralph Tansingco also added 19 and 15 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

Still, their 7-3 finish is their best-ever in the preseason tournament. Moreover, they more than proved they can hang with a powerhouse like DLSU.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 100 – Melecio 30, Rivero 27, Mbala 26, Santillan 9, Caracut 4, Baltazar 2, Tero 2, Go 0, Tratter 0

LPU 99 – Perez 24, Baltazar 19, Tansingco 15, Ayaay 13, Nzeusseu 7, Caduyac 6, Marcelino JC 5, Pretta 5, Marcelino JV 4, Ibanez 1, Liwag 0, Cinco 0

QUARTER SCORES: 23-15, 45-47, 77-73, 100-99

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