DLSU powers through Adamson anew all the way to Finals

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 18, 2017 06:33 PM
DLSU powers through Adamson anew all the way to Finals
NO I IN TEAM. Ricci Rivero and Ben Mbala had much-welcome contributions from guys like Santi Santillan and Aljun Melecio.

Ben Mbala was a one-man wrecking crew for three quarters on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

In the payoff period, however, his reinforcements finally arrived.

With the back-to-back MVP on the bench, the Green Archers went on a decisive 14-0 run that eventually ended as an 82-75 comeback triumph over Adamson University in the semifinals of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Behind that total team effort, the Taft-based team is back in the Finals where they will go all-out to defend their championship. “Unlike in the first round na maraming distractions, now, we are focused,” head coach Aldin Ayo said in his post-game conference.

Mbala was the only reason the defending champions stayed afloat after three quarters under the heavy pressure brought about by the Soaring Falcons who owned a 63-54. “All game long, they were allowing us to take the three. At halftime, I told the boys to be confident in taking those,” Ayo said.

Indeed, once the final frame got going, Jollo Go, Abu Tratter, and Aljun Melecio got together for the 14-0 run that erased a nine-point deficit and erected a 68-63 advantage in favor of DLSU.

Adamson again came as close as 67-68 with four minutes remaining before Mbala’s bruising basket and bonus fronted another 11-3 surge that put the Green Archers on top, 79-70.

And so, DLSU repeated what it had done a year ago – sweep the San Marcelino-based squad in the elimination round and then send them out of the tournament in the Final Four.

Of course, their Cameroonian powerhouse was a big reason for all of it with a 27-point, 14-rebound double-double.

Ricci Rivero was also right there with him with 14 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks while Santi Santillan quietly contributed 15 markers and eight boards.

Melecio played his best game in a while with seven points, five rebounds, and three assists.

The Green Archers made the most out of their aggressiveness by converting 26 of their 39 charities. Those were more than enough to overcome an off-shooting night from long-distance.

Now, they await the winner between twice-to-beat Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University.

For the Soaring Falcons, Jerrick Ahanmisi topped the scoring column with 17 points, but only had three points in the pivotal payoff period. Rob Manalang, playing in his last game, also added 16 markers.

However, they sorely missed the production of Papi Sarr who only had six points and nine rebounds in 21 foul-plagued minutes.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 82 – Mbala 27, Santillan 15, Rivero R 14, Melecio 7, Montalbo 5, Caracut 4, Tratter 3, Go 3, Rivero P 2, Baltazar 2, Paraiso 0

ADAMSON 75 – Ahanmisi 17, Manalang 16, Hill 10, Lojera 7, Sarr 6, Bernardo 6, Manganti 5, Espeleta 4, Pingoy 2, Zaldivar 2, Ochea 0

QUARTER SCORES: 11-21, 33-39, 54-63, 82-75

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