MANILA, Philippines - First it was Thomas Torres, followed by Arnold Van Opstal and Terrence Mustre. All were ruled out before the game due to a different variety of injuries.
Then Norbert Torres went down after suffering a lacerated finger. Shortly after, Kib Montalbo went down with an injured calf.
And then Prince Rivero's lip got busted, a result of the match's physicality.
The injury bug continued to hit them on UAAP Blockbuster Sunday, August 10, but the DLSU Green Archers never wavered, leaning on their depth to get past the UST Growling Tigers, 83-70, at the Mall of Asia Arena to finish the first round with a 5-2 record.
UST, concurrently, drops to 3-3.
"Big minutes from those coming off the bench. Not just offensively," Coach Juno Sauler said after the game.
Jeron Teng finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, also going 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Jason Perkins pitched in too, registering 15 markers and 9 boards.
Rivero also had another strong putout before sitting out majority of the final quarter, finishing with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
The injury bug hit La Salle to open the third quarter, as Kib Montalbo went down after getting his calf kicked. UST managed to build a lead not long after, but four quick points by rookie Abu Tratter got his team back in the game, 46-all.
The Tigers managed to get on top again by putting up four quick points, but Yutien Andrada provided a spark for the Green Archers, who built a 10-1 run to make the count 56-51. Reserve Robert Bolick then hit a 3-ball, giving his club an eight-point lead entering the final quarter.
UST opened the fourth quarter with back to back baskets from Karim Abdul and Aljon Mariano. DLSU, on the other hand, countered by turning to rookie Julian Sargent, who scored six straight points and put La Salle back up eight.
A basket by Jan Sheriff with a little under five minutes to go cut the deficit to six, but Sargent responded with another three-point play, 70-61. After Abdul hit a free throw, a Perkins post score gave the Green archers their first double-digit lead of the game, 72-62.
Moments later, an attacking Teng found a wide open Perkins, who converted from downtown and provided the dagger for the contest, 77-64, with 1:42 to go.
"Julian played an all-around game - he had to defend (Kevin) Ferrer, and at the same time he had a big shot from the corner."
Mariano had 20 points and 4 rebounds to lead the fight for the Tigers, while Loiue Vigil finished with 19 after exploding in the first half.
Ferrer and Abdul contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The bench of both teams played each other to a 35-35 tie, but it was La Salle's starters who had more points, 48-35.
Both clubs played each other close in the first half, exchanging jumper after another and unwilling to let their opponent build a threshold. After 20 minutes of action, Vigil led all scorers with 16 while Teng had 11 for DLSU. At the half, the game was tied at 35.