After bowing out in their first three meetings, the defending champions De La Salle University Green Archers have finally defeated the Far Eastern University Tamaraws this season, routing the second-seeded Tamaraws in a 94-73 blowout to force a knockout match.
Hungry for their first win over the Tamaraws this season, the Archers opened the first quarter to an awesome display of firepower, building a 21-11 lead late in the quarter with help from three three-pointers from Julian Sargent. Mark Belo would manage to fire back to ease the bleeding, but La Salle star Jeron Teng would mail his response on the other end to give La Salle the double digit lead, 24-14, at the end of the first quarter.
Led by Mike Tolomia, an 8-0 run early in the quarter would help the Tamaraws close in on the Archers, trimming the double digit lead to 28-22 halfway through the quarter. Almond Vosotros however would quickly douse the fire by sinking a triple. FEU’s Belo would try to fan the flames once more, leading another rally to cut the lead to 31-27, but Jeron Teng would once again go big just before the buzzer, sinking a trifecta to give La Salle the 34-27 lead heading into halftime.
Big baskets by Almond Vosotros and Jeron Teng to welcome the second half would give La Salle the 43-31 lead with six-and-a-half left on the clock. With Mike Tolomia struggling to score, and Mark Belo the only Tamaraw able to find his touch in the quarter, the Archers would continue to rake in point after point. A technical foul on FEU coach Nash Racela and an unsportsmanlike foul slapped on Ron Dennison would only reveal a frustrated FEU squad. Jeron Teng’s three-point conversion from the Dennison foul would give the Archers the 61-45 lead late in the quarter. After thirty minutes of play, the Archers would enter the final period of the game with the 63-47 lead.
The story however would remain unchanged come the fourth quarter. With the Tamaraws still unable to put a stop to the Archers’ seamless offensive salvo, the lead would remain with La Salle.
A slam by Arnold Van Opstal with less than four minutes left on the clock would eventually give La Salle the 20-point lead, 82-62. With two minutes left on the clock, La Salle head coach Juno Sauler would send in his reserves, who would only manage to inflict more damage. After four quarters, the Archers would walk away with the win and the opportunity to return to the finals.
Jeron Teng led the Archers with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Norbert Torres had 18 points off the bench, while Almond Vosotros and Julian Sargent contributed 17 and 11 respectively.
Mark Belo, the lone bright spot on the FEU stat sheet, had 32 points, draining four-of-seven from the three-point line. Mike Tolomia, the leading scorer in their previous outings with La Salle, was held to a dismal seven points, all scored in the first half.
“It takes a team effort. Can’t rely on one or two players,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler. “We’ll try to anticipate what they bring,” said Sauler when asked about the second semi-final matchup against FEU. “We have to solve Belo.”
The Archers and the Tamaraws resume their semi-final matchup on Wednesday, October 1, at the Araneta Coliseum, at 6pm.