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La Salle defangs UST to force twice-to-beat playoff

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Sep 14th 2013

Jeron Teng again shone brightest for the Archers, nailing a decisive floater in the final minute to loosen the Tigers’ bite towards the end.

De La Salle University sealed a crucial playoff for the last twice-to-beat incentive on Saturday, repulsing a determined University of Santo Tomas (UST) to complete its second-round sweep of the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena.

Jeron Teng again shone brightest for the Archers, nailing a decisive floater in the final minute to loosen the Tigers’ bite towards the end and give La Salle a momentum-feeding 69-64 victory heading into its all-important playoff with Far Eastern University (FEU) for the last twice-to-beat advantage.

“We just took time to improve on the things we have to work on like our defense. Back in the first round, it was really bad. We just have to keep on improving,” La Salle coach Juno Sauler said after finishing tied with idle National University and FEU at 10-4.

“There’s no sense of accomplishment yet despite sweeping the second round. It’s still a per-game basis. We have to continue to find ways to balance our offense and defense.”

Teng scored 19, including eight in the fourth where the Archers displayed resiliency and poise to trim down the comeback-savvy Tigers. He also had 11 rebounds to cap a double-double while getting ample support from Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal who effectively contained UST center Karim Abdul down low.

With Torres and Van Opstal burning more minutes in the paint against the Abdul-centered UST frontline, the Archers out-rebounded the Tigers, 53-41, including a 19-9 edge off the offensive glass.

Torres registered a double-double of his own with 14 markers and 13 boards, while Almond Vosotros, who went 0-of-11 from three-point country, tossed in 11. Van Opstal only had six points and five rebounds but proved to be a good help defender underneath.

La Salle actually had UST’s numbers from the opening tip but the Tigers hanged on despite a woeful first quarter.

Ahead by just 25-23, the Archers then unleashed a crippling 16-7 run anchored on Teng, Torres, and Van Opstal to hike the lead, 39-30, at the break.

UST cut the deficit to five early in the third but the Archers responded with a 9-0 blitz on Jason Perkins’ seven-point swing for a 48-34 tally. The Tigers again moved within five on Abdul’s freethrows before Thomas Torres knocked in a corner triple to provide some breathing room for La Salle, 53-45, entering the final period.

But the Tigers remained in the hunt as Abdul presided over a 7-1 spurt midway through the fourth to trail by just 57-59. Three straight points from the big man Torres and an L.A. Revilla floater extended La Salle’s lead to seven before Abdul sank two more freethrows with 1:19 remaining.

Sensing trouble, Teng then drove the lane against Ed Daquioag and buried the key floater to virtually put the game away, 66-59.

Mariano heaped a top-of-the-key with a triple in the last 20 seconds but it was not enough to overcome the Archers’ lead and composure.

Abdul led UST with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Mariano and Jeric Teng added 16 and 10, respectively for the Tigers who will face defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in a do-o-rdie battle for the last Final Four slot on Wednesday.

The scores:

DLSU 69 – Teng 19, N.Torres, Vosotros 11, Perkins 7, Van Opstal 6, Revilla 6, T.Torres 3, Salem 3, Reyes 0, Montalbo 0, Dela Paz 0.

UST 64 – Abdul 18, Mariano 16, Teng 10, Bautista 6, Sheriff 5, Ferrer 5, Lo 2, Daquioag 2, Pe 0, Faundo 0.

Quarter scores: 15-13, 39-30, 53-45, 69-64.