Melecio to the rescue as DLSU rallies by FEU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 12, 2016 06:48 PM
Melecio to the rescue as DLSU rallies by FEU
GOT YOUR NUMBER. DLSU re-asserted their mastery over FEU in another highly-entertaining matchup between the title favorites and the defending champions.

Far Eastern University was following the gameplan to perfection on Saturday at the MOA Arena.

But a broken play was all De La Salle University to take back control, never to relinquish it again.

Aljun Melecio’s booming trey following a loose ball scramble inside the last two minutes sparked the late charge that propelled the Green Archers past the Tamaraws, 73-67, and back onto the win column in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

After the defending champions led for majority of the matchup, the rookie’s long-distance connection tied the tally at 67 with 1:44 remaining. Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala then connived for six unanswered points to put the finishing touches on DLSU’s 13th win in 14 games, this time by way of comeback.

The Archers were already assured of the top-seed, but the win was still a welcome development coming off their first loss of the season at the hands of archrival Ateneo de Manila University. “We’re grateful for this win because mahirap talaga yung talon a yun,” coach Aldin Ayo said.

FEU was following the Blue Eagles’ blueprint and utilized end-to-end discipline to force their opponents into playing their game.

Still, despite Axel Inigo’s breakout game, DLSU was only chasing down a five-point deficit with six minutes remaining. “We went back to the basics, the fundamentals. Good thing the boys just didn’t give up,” Ayo said.

And so, shackled all game long, Ben Mbala broke free and threw down a putback dunk to trim their deficit to only 62-65.

The two teams then exchanged makes before Melecio was left open for the tally-tying basket. Teng and Mbala finished the job as the Archers locked down the Tamaraws in the last two minutes.

Teng scored 17 points and Mbala posted a 16-point, 16-rebound double-double and DLSU wrapped up their elimination round at 13-1.

Melecio contributed 12 points, all in the second half, as the Archers proved to have too many weapons once more.

Inigo’s career-high 18 points paced FEU. Running out of gas in the endgame, however, they dropped their third game in a row and now settle at third-place with an 8-5 record.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 73 – Teng 17, Mbala 16, Montalbo 13, Melecio 12, Tratter 5, Caracut 4, Rivero P 3, Torres 3, Paraiso 0, Sargent 0, Baltazar 0

FEU 67 – Inigo 18, Trinidad 16, Orizu 7, Comboy 7, Arong 7, Escoto 6, Jose 4, Dennison 2, Tuffin 0, Holmqvist 0, Ebona 0, Nunag 0

QUARTER SCORES: 13-13, 32-35, 51-53, 73-67

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