Locked in, defending champions De La Salle University Green Archers hammered the National University Bulldogs, 101-76, in the prelude to their showdown against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Saturday evening.
“Every win is a morale booster for us. We want to win this game para mataas confidence going to the Final Four,” said Green Archers skipper Kib Montalbo, who finished with eight points, three rebounds, and four assists and was a team-high plus-16 in the contest.
With the win, the Green Archers have swept their assignments for the second round so far, lifting their card to 11-2. Moreover, Aldin Ayo and La Salle sent Jamike Jarin and NU to the brink of elimination with a 4-8 record.
Leading Most Valuable Player candidate Ben Mbala showed his might in the blowout finishing with 30 points on 8-for-13 shooting and eight rebounds. Sidekick Ricci Rivero had an excellent outing as well with 16 points on 60 percent shooting to go along with six rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
“We’re taking it one game at a time. After this game, prepare na kami for Ateneo. Every game siguro we’re getting better every game kasi sinusunod namin game plan ng coaches,” said Rivero.
The game was already out of reach come the third frame. With Mbala scoring 11 points in the third frame, the Green Archers held an imposing 17-point lead heading into the final frame.
Even the Green Archers’ bench did not let up in the final frame as seldomly-used Ramil Tero knocked down a jumper with 17 ticks left to give La Salle a game-high 101-76 lead.
Besides outclassing the Bulldogs at all fronts, NU could not cleanly defend La Salle, committing 29 fouls in the contest that led to 33 free throw attempts. In contrast, La Salle’s pressing defense only allowed just 11 freebies.
J-jay Alejandro, who could be playing in his third to the last UAAP game, finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. However, he was forced to eight of NU’s 23 errors. Enzo Joson had 20 points as well.
La Salle looks to get back at arch-rival Ateneo on Sunday, November 12 at 4:00pm. NU, on the other hand, hopes to win its final two games starting on Wednesday, November 8 against the FEU Tamaraws.
DLSU 101 – Mbala 30, Rivero R 16, Santillan 9, Montalbo 8, Go 8, Caracut 7, Melecio 5, Tratter 5, Paraiso 5, Baltazar 4, Rivero P 2, Tero 2, Gonzales 0, Capacio 0
NU 76 – Alejandro 20, Joson 20, Gaye 12, Lastimosa 5, Diputado 4, Rangel 4, Aquino 3, Mosqueda 2, Tibayan 2, Yu 2, Bartlett 2, Cauilan 0, Morido 0, Flores 0, Abatayo 0
Quarterscores: 26-20, 47-35, 73-57, 101-76