MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle University Green Archers scaped by the Southwestern University Cobras, 59-54, in the opening game of the 2014 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) Elite Eight round on Thursday , November 13, at the Cebu Coliseum.
Jeron Teng led the Green Archers with 11 points, while Thomas Torres and Prince Rivero each put up 9 markers in the victory for La Salle, who won the 2013 PCCL championship by sweeping Southwestern University in their best-of-three finals series last December.
Ben Mbala, who used to play for the Cobras and led them to the Cesafi (Cebu Schools Atheletic Foundation Inc.) title in 2012, finished with 8 points - 6 in the fourth quarter - and came up with the biggest play of the contest for the Green Archers in his first game against his former team.
La Salle entered the fourth quarter with a slim 45-44 lead, but quickly extended their advantage to six thanks to an and-one play by Mbala and breakaway layup for Montalbo.
Both teams exchanged baskets in the succeeding possessions, with La Salle holding on to a 55-50 lead with 2:30 left in the game.
However, SWU didn't go down quietly, as Jasper Parker nailed a 3-pointer to keep the Cobras alive. After the Green Archers failed to answer back, former DLSU guard Mac Tallo earned a trip to the line and split his charities, inching Southwestern University to within one, 55-54.
With under a minute to go, Rivero converted a basket despite getting fouled, but missed the extra free throw. With a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer, the Cobras failed to get an attempt up as Mbala came away with a steal. SWU was then forced to foul La Salle guard Robert Bollick, who iced the game by making both his free throws.
Despite his team coming away with the win in what was essentially a road game, Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler was not pleased with the way the Green Archers performed against the Cebu-based Cobras.
"We turned the ball over. We didn't get back on defense. That's why they were able to get back," Sauler told DLSUsports.com.
"They could have played better," he said about his team, which relinquished a nine-point second half lead.
Teng scored most of his points in the start of the third quarter, where he put up 8 quick markers on a series of pull-up jumpers and floaters to give La Salle a 38-29 edge, their largest lead of the night.
The game heated up moments later when a viewer at the arena threw a foreign object on the playing court following a technical foul called on SWU head coach Yayoy Alcoseba for over-complaining a call.
Tallo finished with 17 points to lead the Cobras, while Parker put up 15.
DLSU will be back in action on Friday, November 14, to take on University of Visayas, while SWU will battle with University of San Carlos.
DLSU (59): Teng 11, Rivero 9, Torres 9, Mbala 8, Pascual 6, Bolick 4, Torralba 2, Mustre 2
SWU (54): Tallo 17, Parker 15, Valdor 7, Bregondo 6, Goloran 3, Luz 2, Sanjo 1
Quarter Scoring: 12-16, 29-27, 45-44, 59-54