DLSU stays spotless after acing NUís challenge

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 18, 2016 05:02 PM
DLSU stays spotless after acing NUís challenge
STILL THE ONE. Jeron Teng and NU are now alone atop the leaderboard after pushing off NU.

De La Salle University finally faced adversity in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And yet, the title favorites passed their toughest test thus far with flying colors.

Jeron Teng came through in the clutch anew and Aldin Ayo’s mayhem only allowed nine points in the last seven minutes as the Green Archers bested National University, 75-66, on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

While he did not start, the fifth-year forward definitely finished the game and fired eight of his 23 points in the last seven minutes. “We’re expecting this kind of game. We were physically and mentally ready for the grind of the game,” coach Aldin Ayo said in his post-game conference.

Forcing Teng into his fourth foul, the Bulldogs mounted a 15-6 rush to take control of the close contest, 52-43, at the 4:12 mark of the third. Proving his coaching capabilities, however, Ayo simply sent in Ricci Rivero to give some life to their offense that was, thus far, having trouble in getting going.

Rivero, along with fellow guards Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio, and Kib Montalbo sparked the 13-5 charge that pulled DLSU to within one. It was at that point that Teng got back into the action and delivered immediate impact with back-to-back hits that retook the lead for his team, 60-57.

Matt Salem kept NU barking, however, and they were only down by one until the Archers wrapped up their fourth consecutive victory with another 13-5 tear.

In all, DLSU outscored their opponents, 23-12, in the final frame – and 19-9 in the last seven minutes. “It’s our defense. We just executed our defense,” Ayo expressed.

Ben Mbala remained to be a force with 16 points and 15 rebounds, but in a tight matchup featuring four deadlocks and 10 lead changes, Ayo’s bench proved to be the difference by outworking their counterparts, 46-20.

With their latest win, the Archers are now alone atop the leaderboard and are the only team yet to be defeated in the tournament.

For the Bulldogs, it was Salem who topped the scoring column with 15 points. J-Jay Alejandro added 14 of his own, but none in the last seven minutes to see his squad suffer their first setback in three games.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 75 – Teng 23, Mbala 16, Tratter 6, Rivero R 6, Montalbo 5, Torres 4, Melecio 4, Caracut 3, Go 3, Baltazar 3, Rivero P 2, Sargent 0

NU 66 – Salem 15, Alejandro 14, Diputado R 10, Morido 7, Sinclair 6, Abatayo 4, Aquino 3, Aroga 2, Salim 2, Diputado C 2, Mosqueda 1, Rangel 0, Yu 0, Gallego 0

QUARTER SCORES: 17-16, 37-37, 52-54, 75-66

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