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Tiebreaker Times


La Salle advances to 3rd straight Premier Cup finals

The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles put up a gallant stand in the first half. However, the firepower of the De La Salle Green Archers proved to be too much for the young Eagles.

The Green Archers advanced to its third straight FilOil Flying V Premier Cup finals, fourth in the last five years, in a 92-77 win Friday afternoon in San Juan City.

Abu Tratter, who has been consistent all throughout the tournament, scored 10 of his 14 points in the final frame and grabbed eight rebounds.

“I credit his improvement to Coach Glen Capacio and yung other coaches namin kasi sila ang nagtratrabaho sa mga bigs namin,” first year La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo said. “Maganda attitude niya e. Lahat ng sinasabi namin na-aabsorb ng bata.”

Just as expected, the Green Archers blew past their rivals early in the second quarter in gaining a game-high 40-22 lead. The Blue Eagles did not go down fighting with Aaron Black leading the way. Black scored 16 first half points to lead the Ateneo surge to cut the lead to just five, 45-40, in the waning seconds of the second stanza. A timely Thomas Torres three stopped the bleeding to enter the break.

It was all La Salle in the second half. With La Salle holding a 66-56 lead entering the final frame, Tratter powered his way inside for three straight points, all from the charity stripe. Chibueze Ikeh, challenged by the tall La Salle frontline, then led the Blue Eagles in a one last rally that cut the lead to just eight, 76-68, with 5:41 remaining.

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However, a 9-4 run by La Salle capped by a great find by Torres to Tratter for a dunk killed all the momentum gained by the Blue Eagles with 2:31 left.

“I don’t mind if it’s Ateneo or not, basta kami, gusto namin magtrabaho para sa team na as early as now, gusto namin malayo na ang marating namin,” Ayo added. “In terms of progress, gusto namin pataas ng pataas.”

Three other Archers scored in double-figues with Mbala grabbing a double-double with 16 points and 17 boards. Rookie Aljun Melecio and sophomore Andrei Caracut added 15 and 13 points respectively.

For the Blue and White, Aaron Black scored a game-high 24 points and was able to grab nine rebounds. Thirdy Ravena added 10 markers.

Surprisingly, Ateneo outrebounded La Salle 45-37. However, the Green Archers forced their opponents to 22 turnovers that led to 19 turnover points while knocking down 11 triples in the game.

Jeron Teng only played 15 minutes in the game while Ateneo missed the services of Tyler Tio.

“Na-miss namin si JT kasi di siya 100-percent, pero pinakiusapan namin sya na maglaro para hindi masira ang rotation namin,” Ayo said about Teng. “Medyo maga pa nga yung ankle niya.”

Coach Ayo will face a familiar foe in the final in facing the Arellano Chiefs on Sunday, June 12 at 4:00pm. Ateneo and National University will play in the first game for third place.

The Scores:

DLSU (92) – Torres 17, Mbala 16, Melecio 15, Tratter 14, Caracut 13, Montalbo 7, Go 6, Gob 2, Rivero 2, Teng 0

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ADMU (77) – Black 24, Ravena 10, Wong 8, Porter 7, Tolentino 7, Ikeh 6, Go 4, Asistio 3, Nieto 2, Babilonia 2, Allmond 2, Mendoza 2, Banzon 0

Quarterscores: 27-14, 48-40, 66-56, 92-77.

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