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Teng, DLSU avoid collapse, overpower NU

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The defending UAAP champions, National University Bulldogs, after going down in the first half, stormed back in a late fourth quarter surge. However, fourth year wing Jeron Teng made a clutch layup with 23.6 seconds remaining to give the De La Salle University Green Archers a 67-63 win over the NU Bulldogs Sunday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The National University struggled in the opening quarter of the season. After team captain Gelo Alolino was able to score the Bulldogs’ first five points, all from pull-up jumpers, the defending champions went cold from the field as their supposed offense sets stagnated. In addition, defensive lapses by the Bulldogs led to easy baskets for Teng, who scored eight first quarter points. The Eric Altamirano-mentored squad could not find the touch from the field as they were only able to muster a single free throw in the last 7:50 minutes of the quarter. The Archers led by ten to end the first quarter, 16-6.

Rookie guard Andrei Caracut extended the lead in the second quarter. Caracut facilitated well for his teammates and was able to knock down two three pointers in the quarter. The Bulldogs were able to slowly find their rhythm on offense as they were able to keep pace with their opponents. However, The green-and-white squad continued to lead by ten, 33-23.

The lead grew to a game-high fifteen points at the 4:33 mark of the third quarter. After a technical foul was called on Gelo Alolino at the 7:30 mark, with NU just down six, Caracut and Teng blasted the Bulldogs with an 12-3 blast that pushed the lead to 45-30. Moreover, the Bulldogs’ frontline thinned down as Alfred Aroga was in foul-trouble during the majority of that run. The Bulldogs had to rely on Jay Alejandro to bail them out and to cut the lead to 11 at the end of the third, 51-40.

Third year guard Alejandro, who is known for his offense in his first two seasons, showed his improvements on defense in the final frame of the game. The defending champions employed a box-one defense that focused on Jeron Teng, who had either Alejandro or rookie Reggie Morido on him. With the Archers still holding a 10 point lead with 5:18 to go, Alejandro made excellent stops that led to free throws by Alolino and himself. Slowly, the press of the Bulldogs, anchored by Diputado and Alejandro, churned in turnovers that led to points. A clutch three-pointer by Gelo Alolino, coming from a pick-and-roll with Aroga, cut the lead to just two, 60-58, with 1:58 to go. Unfortunately for the home team, Aroga fouled out at the 1:03 mark with DLSU leading by just three. Aroga’s ejection paralyzed the rebounding of the Bulldogs. A clutch, high-banking layup by Jeron Teng with 23.6 remaining gave the Taft-based squad a comfortable 64-59 lead that eventually led to a 67-63 victory.

“A win is a win,” King Archer Jeron Teng said after the game.Coach Juno Sauler added that turnovers were the main reason that NU was able to make that run. “Turnovers became our problem [in the fourth], it came from the backcourt that led to easy baskets,” Sauler said,

Jeron Teng led all scorers with 18 points on 7/18 shooting. Rookie guard Andrei Caracut made an outstanding debut with 13 points, including three three-pointers. Smart Elite ambassador also had a double-double for the Archers with 11 points and 12 huge rebounds.

For NU, Smart Elite ambassador Gelo Alolino was just 6/18 from the field but had 16 markers, six boards, and two dimes. Jay Alejandro staved off a slowstart and was able to put up 15 points.

The DLSU Green Archers (1-0) will face the UP Fighting Maroons (0-1) on Wednesday, September 9 at 2:00pm while the NU Bulldogs (0-1) will have the UE (0-1)Red Warriors as their next assignment on Saturday, September 12 at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
DLSU 67 – Teng 18, Caracut 13, Perkins 13, Rivero 11, Sargent 6, Torres 3, Tratter 3, Go 0, Langston 0.
NU 63 – Alolino 16, Alejandro 15, Aroga 9, Diputado 8, Javelona 4, Salim 4, Neypes 3, Javillonar 2, Morido 2, Abatayo 0, Celda 0, Rangel 0, Tansingco 0.
Quarterscores: 16-6, 33-23, 51-40, 67-63.

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