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On-target La Salle makes UAAP finals

By Josiah Albelda Posted Sep 25th 2013

LA Revilla had another stellar performance as De La Salle University barged into the Finals for the first time since 2008.

Target shot down.

De La Salle University broke into the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament finals after rising from the jaws of defeat to escape Far Eastern University, 71-68, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With the win, the Green Archers booked the first ticket to the championship stage and will face either National University or University of Santo Tomas.

"I have to hand it to my players," said La Salle coach Juno Sauler. "They played their hearts out in the fourth quarter."

The Archers trailed for 34 of the first 35 minutes of the game as the Tamaraws played solid basketball highlighted by the explosion of reserve forward Carl Cruz.

Cruz, who averaged 5.8 points throughout the elimination round, made his first five shots to finish with a team-high 16 points as FEU built a 46-35 advantage midway through the third period off a Cruz basket.

But La Salle countered with a 17-6 run in the next six minutes capped by the ejection of Tamaraws skipper Gryann Mendoza, who committed an unsportsmanlike foul just before the quarter ended.

Arnold van Opstal scored four points in a 7-0 blast that allowed the Archers to tie the game at 59-all with 6:37 left in the ball game before Norbert Torres banked in back-to-back shots to put his team ahead, 65-63.

After a Roger Pogoy triple pushed FEU ahead anew, La Salle responded with a 5-1 burst that sealed the game with 13 seconds left.

Teng, Torres and LA Revilla each scored 15 points to lead the Archers, who ran their streak to nine.

"I know how important these games are," Revilla said. "We don't want to take this thing for granted. We're here already so todo bigay na."

MVP Terrence Romeo missed all six of his shots from beyond the arc to finish with 14 points on five of 18 shooting while RR Garcia ended his UAAP career with ill-advised three-point attempts in the last minute.

The scores:

DLSU (71) - N. Torres 15, Teng 15, Revilla 15, Perkins 8, Van Opstal 6, Vosotros 5, T. Torres 4, Montalbo 3, Tampus 0, Salem 0, Dela Paz 0

FEU (68) - Cruz 16, Romeo 14, Garcia 10, Mendoza 8, Pogoy 6, Belo 5, Hargrove 4, Tolomia 3, Jose 2, Inigo 0, Sentcheu 0

Quarters: 18-21, 31-38, 52-56, 71-68