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Teng, La Salle outmuscle UE for solo third

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After their heartbreaking defeat against UST on Sunday, the De La Salle University Green Archers went back to winning form as they defeated the gritty University of the East Red Warriors squad, 72-64 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

The usual fullcourt pressure defense of the Red Warriors became a headache for the Taft-based crew. The dreaded Pumaren press forced the Green Archers to consecutive turnovers during the opening canto. This led to early transition baskets that gave UE an early 12-7 lead but La Salle managed to claw back in the last minutes. There were three deadlocks in the tail-end of the period before Thomas Torres unloaded a triple to give his team a 19-16 after one quarter.

A 7-0 run was put up by the Red Warriors to regain the lead in the second quarter highlighted by a Renz Palma breakaway jam in the 6:22 mark. However, La Salle erased a 23-26 deficit with an 18-4 closeout to the first half as Thomas Torres caught fire once more as the senior point guard accounted for the Archers’ last seven points. Torres and Jeron Teng paced La Salle with 14 points each at the break.

Within 90 seconds. The halftime lead was erased by the Warriors with an 8-0 start to the second half. Their frantic defense limited La Salle’s attempts at the rim as the Archers struggled with the number of turnovers including offensive fouls that enabled UE to make the game close. A good exchange of points ensued in the last possessions of the quarter but two putbacks by Larry Muyang pushed La Salle to a 55-50 lead entering the last frame of action.

As both teams struggled with their outside shots, La Salle and UE attacked the basket and found their frontline crew for offense. The Red Warriors’ last push came in the opening part of the final quarter as they sliced the lead down to 59-56 capped by an and-one play by Paul Varilla.

However, La Salle owned the final moments as they countered with a 9-0 blast that served as the nail in the coffin and broke any momentum the Derrick Pumaren-mentored squad gained. The Red Warriors scored six more points late, but just came short to overhaul La Salle’s lead.

“Hard fought game even when we had the lead UE fought back. It’s a good thing the players had composure and finished the game well,” said coach Juno Sauler after the grind-out win.

Leading his team was Jeron Teng who had 20 points, including an 8/9 clip from the foul stripe. After the game, Teng commended the Red Warriors for their game-long hustle and intensity. “Nagkulang kami sa energy. UE showed more effort sa fastbreak” said the fourth year forward in terms of how the Warriors forced them to 30 turnovers and converted it to 14 points.

Smart Elite Ambassador Prince Rivero added eight points and eight boards. Thomas Torres finished with 15 while Muyang added nine.

For the Red Warriors, Emil Palma and Chris Javier paced the team with 14 points apiece with the latter grabbing twelve boards as well. However, both were a combined 12 of 29 from the field.

La Salle had more rebounds, 54-40, and shot at a better clip, 43.10% compared to UE’s 30.49%.

They improved to a 5-4 record and will next face the FEU Tamaraws. On the other hand, UE drops to 3-6 and will have UP as their next assignment. Both games will be played on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:
DLSU (72) – Teng 20, Torres 15, Muyang 9, Rivero 8, Torralba 8, Perkins 7, Sargent 3, Langston 2, Navarro 0.
UE (64) – Palma 14, Javier 14, Batiller 9, Varilla 8, Manalang 6, Derige 6, Charcos 5, De Leon 2, De Leon 0, Abanto 0, Gonzales 0, Gagante 0, Yu 0, Penuela 0.
Quarterscores: 19-16, 41-30, 55-50, 72-64

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