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La Salle extends Ateneo's losing streak

By Donjie Carreon Posted Jul 7th 2013

Arnold Van Opstal led La Salle off the bench as the Green Archer substitutes outscored their Blue Eagles counterparts, 28-9, for their first win over Ateneo since 2010.

De La Salle University overcame an error-prone start and the hot shooting of Chris Newsome to defeat the Ateneo de Manila University, 82-73, on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena and break its six-game losing streak against their rivals.

Almond Vosotros led La Salle with 19 points, with nine coming in the pivotal third quarter during the Archers’ comeback, and nine boards while Jeron Teng had 13 and 10.

The Green Archers received a huge boost from its bench as Arnold Van Opstal chipped in 18 points and eight rebounds, while Luigi de La Paz added all his 10 points in the second half, in reserve roles. Ateneo, which was missing star guard Kiefer Ravena, got a game-high 27 points from Newsome, 14 from Juami Tiongson  and 11 points and 10 boards from Ryan Buenafe.

La Salle took advantage of its bigger frontline as it outrebounded Ateneo, 48-32, especially after the Eagles lost big men Frank Golla and JP Erram to fouls in the second half. The Archers also recovered from its poor shooting in the first half to finish with a 44.1% field goal percentage compared to its 32.4% start, while Ateneo cooled off to  43.1% from 50%.

La Salle improved to 2-1 this season.  La Salle last defeated Ateneo in June 24, 2010 and had lost 12 of the last 13 prior to this win. It was the 71st UAAP meeting between the teams, and Ateneo holds a 36-35 edge over its rival.

The Blue Eagles, meanwhile, continue to struggle without Ravena. Ateneo remains winless in three tries in Season 76, and the form that won them the past five championships is quickly becoming a distant memory.

But while the current Ateneo team is a far cry from the ones that dominated the UAAP in the past five season, this did not lessen the Archers’ motivation to the beat up the Eagles, Van Opstal said.

“We came in to this game thinking that this is our time... They’ve had their time,” he said.

That, however, was not apparent early. The Archers trailed by as much as 14 points in the second quarter and fell behind 28-40 at the half as the Eagles feasted on their turnovers, getting 18 points off La Salle’s 10 miscues. And while Ateneo was missing Ravena, La Salle’s perimeter players still had a tough time on defense as Newsome exploded early, as he repeatedly got to the basket to tally 18 points by halftime.

 “We weren’t sharing the ball… I told them to stop doing things on their own and execute the offense,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.

The message appeared not to have sunk in at first as Ateneo threatened to pull away, early in the third period, after it again built a 14-point lead, 34-48, off an Erram lay-up.

But after that it was La Salle’s turn to pound away at Ateneo.  The Archers uncorked a 16-2 run to tie the score at 50 apiece, with seven coming from Vosotros including the jumper that knotted the count. The Archers finished the period up 59-56 as they outscored the Eagles 31-16.

The fourth was a seesaw battle as Ateneo would not allow La Salle to pull away. But after Ryan converted two free throws to get Ateneo within 74-70 with just two minutes remaining, de la Paz hit a corner three to extend the lead to 77-70. Nico Elorde converted a lay-up off a steal from Teng from the backcourt, but de La Paz again responded with a jumper for 79-72 lead. Vosotros would then hit a short stab off an Ateneo turnover to put the game out of reach from the Archers.

The Scores:

La Salle 82 – Vosotros 19, Van Opstal 18, Teng 13, De La Paz 10, Perkins 9, T. Torres 8, N. Torres 5, Reyes 0, Montalbo 0, Bolick 0.

Ateneo 73 – Newsome 27, Tiongson 14, Buenafe 11, Pessumal 10, Erram 6, Elorde 3, Golla 2, Tolentino 0, Capacio 0, Babilonia 0.

Quarters: 16-20, 28-40, 59-56, 82-73.