MANILA, Philippines - The De La Salle Green Archers relied on clutch free throws by Jason Perkins and a critical jumper by Jeron Teng late in the game to take down the NU Bulldogs, 67-63, on Sunday, September 6, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Winning their debut game of the UAAP season, La Salle nearly blew a 15-point second half lead as NU got within one in the final period. The Bulldogs, this season’s defending champions, fall to 0-1 with the defeat.
Teng spearheaded DLSU with 18 points and 4 boards while Perkins, who looked and played 20 pounds lighter, finished with 13 points to go with 12 rebounds.
Prized Green Archers recruit Andrei Caracut was superb as well in his collegiate debut, finishing with 13 points and 3 3-pointers.
“We had to come out really strong,” Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler said after the game. “We knew NU, being the defending champions, would give us a good fight, and they proved themselves even in the fourth quarter when they got back. I just told everyone to be ready for today’s game.”
“A win is a win and for me. It doesn’t prove anything yet,” said Teng. “We’re just here to have fun every game and we’re going to continue to learn every game.”
DLSU shot 40% from the floor and limited National U to 29% shooting from the field. The Green Archers raced to a 16-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and stayed ahead by double digits for most of the game until the Bulldogs’ fourth quarter run.
A free throw by Rev Diputado and 3-ball by Gelo Alolino cut into DLSU’s lead, 60-58, with 1:58 to go in the contest. A few possessions later, Alolino was fouled on the break and split his visit to the line, trimming the deficit to one.
Perkins then attacked the paint and drew the fifth personal on Alfred Aroga, who fouled out with 9 points and 10 rebounds. After Perkins made two charities to extend his team’s lead to 3, Teng hit a tough, off-balanced jumper a few possessions later to put La Salle on top 64-59 with 23 seconds to go.
J-Jay Alejandro hit a floater to give NU a puncher’s chance, but free throws by Julian Sargent sealed the victory.
“Turnovers. We committed crucial turnovers which led to easy baskets on their end, and our turnovers were costly because it happened in the backcourt,” Sauler talked about why DLSU lost their lead late. Overall, the Green Archers committed 17 miscues.
Caracut had 4 of those, but still showed great poise for a player in his first college game.
“If there’s an opportunity for him where we think he has an advantage we will go to him,” Sauler said about his new player out of San Beda high school, “and it’s like that with everyone else.”
Alolino led the way with 16 points and 6 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who will be back in action on Saturday, September 12, when they face the UE Red Warriors. Alejandro registered 15 points.
Prince Rivero also played well with 11 points and 8 rebounds for La Salle, who will take on the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, September 9.
DLSU (67): Teng 18, Caracut 13, Perkins 13, Rivero 11, Sargent 6, Torres 3, Tratter 3, Go 0, Langston 0
NU (63): Alolino 16, Alejandro 15, Aroga 9, Diputado 8, Javelona 4, Salim 4, Neypes 3, Javillonar 2, Morido 2, Abatayo 0, Celda 0, Rangel 0, Tansingco 0
Quarter scores: 16-6, 33-23, 51-40, 67-63 – Rappler.com