This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Between the defending champions and one of this season’s dark horses, resiliency and character made the difference.
The De La Salle Green Archers overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and survived a tough stand from the UE Red Warriors to escape with only their second win, 60-58, in the men’s basketball tournament of the UAAP Season 77 on Sunday, July 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jeron Teng managed 18 points against UE’s defenses to lead all Archers. He pulled down 6 rebounds and 4 assists as well.
Teng delivered the crucial blows in the endgame together with rookie Prince Rivero to deal UE their first loss of the season.
In no way was this an easy battle for either squad. Both teams were tested for their ability to execute as well as for their character at crunch time.
In the fourth, La Salle sneaked up on the Warriors with a hard-earned 13-4 run to make it just a 50-49 disadvantage after trailing by 10, 46-36, at the end of the third.
La Salle also successfully put UE’s big guys Charles Mammie (8 points, 8 rebounds) and Moustapha Arafat (3 points, 3 rebounds) in foul trouble. Norbert Torres (14 points, 14 rebounds) completed a three-point play opportunity and drew the last foul from Arafat.
In turn, the Warriors did the same as Mammie, playing with 4 fouls since the 7:55 mark of the payoff period, drew Arnold Van Opstal’s 5th foul with 3:51 remaining after the La Salle bigman knotted the game at 51 about 15 seconds earlier.
Jason Perkins also fouled out midway in the fourth.
Rivero was the spark that propelled La Salle’s fourth quarter surge, making the most of his 14 minutes on the floor and injecting the energy for every basket he made or good play his team did.
“Probably just intuition,” head coach Juno Sauler responded when asked of his decision fo field in the rookie during the crucial juncture in place of their bigmen.
“Sometimes we have to go with our gut feel. Prince has been playing the 3-spot for us so we just tried him out at the 4.”
Rivero, who wound up with 8 points and 5 boards, sparked La Salle’s run with an and-one play to start the fourth before quite fittingly giving his team the lead with 2:13 to play after completing a reverse underneath and knocking down the bonus free throw, 56-54.
And as Mammie found himself walking off the court after being whistled for his 5th foul, Jeron Teng took advantage right away, exploiting his upper body strength to force his way through UE’s interior defense and give La Salle some cushion, 58-54, with 1:25 left.
But UE’s Roi Sumang wasn’t one to give up so easily. He scored a bucket to make it just a 58-56 affair. Though Rivero nailed the crucial basket from underneath right after, 60-58.
Sumang then swished in some charities with 36 ticks remaining to give his team a probable shot at winning the game, down by only 60-58.
But in the final possession, Sumang, his killer instincts kicking in, called for a screen from Gino Jumao-as as he drove past his defender and stopped for a jumper that was short. He thought he drew the foul, but there was no whistle.
Sumang, with his 16 markers and 5 dimes, stood on the same spot well after the final buzzer sounded, still in utter disbelief of how they let the game slip away from their fingers.
“We were lucky to pull this through with 36 turnovers,” Sauler said simply, noting the tremendous effort of the Warriors on defense.
UE employed Derrick Pumaren’s full-court press for nearly the entire game and wouldn’t allow the Archers to even start their plays. More importantly, it cost La Salle 36 turnovers and the defending champs yielded 19 points off those miscues to UE.
The Archers bled for their points for most of the contest. They didn’t score more than 14 points for each of the first 3 periods before running loose with 24 points in the last canto.
“We knew they were going to press and that’s what we tried to focus on,” Sauler explained.
“Of course it’s different when we practice. The press that we practiced is not the way UE plays it. It’s hard. We knew they were gonna do it for 40 minutes. But apparently we didn’t do a good job against their press with our 36 turnovers.”
UE had a more balanced scoring with guys like Paul Varilla and Mark Olayon chipping in 8 and 7 points, respectively. They collared more offensive rebounds than La Salle, 14-13, but never converted any of those into second-chance points.
Powering through the sturdy UE defense since the beginning of the game, La Salle fought for some points to go on a 7-0 spurt to keep it close, 28-26, at the half.
But like an elastic band, the Warriors’ defense slapped back to a vise-like grip of the Archers as UE owned the third period to earn them a 46-36 edge entering the final frame.
“We defended very well in the fourth. That was big to be able to give just 12 points in the fourth to UE. That made a difference also,” Sauler said.
La Salle evened their win-loss record at 2-2 while UE dropped to 2-1.
La Salle (60): Teng, 18, N. Torres 14, Vosotros 12, Rivero 8, Van Opstal 5, Perkins 2, Tratter 1, Andrada 0, Bolick 0, Montalbo 0.
UE (58): Sumang 16, Mammie, 8, Varilla 8, Olayon 7, Galanza 5, Alberto 4, Jumao-as 4, Arafat 3, Javier 2, De Leon 1.
Quarter scores: 12-14, 26-28, 36-46, 60-58.