Balanced attack carries Archers past Knights, barges into win column

Players like Norbert Torres, Jovet Mendoza, and Yutien Andrada had their moments and all put up sterling performances, but it was the rookie tandem of Jeron Teng and Mac-Mac Tallo that ultimately sealed the DLSU Green Archers’ maiden win in the Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-Season Tournament, as they nipped a hard-fighting Letran side, 80-73 today at the Fil-Oil Arena.

A total of five Archers scored in double figures, led by the blue-chip rookie Teng, who netted a total of 15 points, four rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes of action, and offset his sub-par shooting from the field by nailing eight of his nine free throws, the last of which all but assured the win for La Salle. Tallo added 10 points, five dimes, two rebounds, and a crucial steal during the game’s final minute that led to a breakaway lay-up that pushed their lead to eight, 79-71, with mere seconds left on the clock.

It was at the onset of the third canto when the Knights enjoyed their biggest lead of the game, 49-43, after a twinner by Jonathan Belorio, before the Archers uncorked a blistering 14-4 run to seize the lead for good, 58-53, a lead which was repeatedly threatened but was never overcome by the Knights. A steal and an uncontested lay-up by Kevin Racal would get the Knights within a basket, 68-70, but the Archers would respond with a putback by Andrada, and a freebie and basket by Tallo to push their lead to five, 73-68, and the Knights would get no closer than six the rest of the way.

A frenetic pace by the Archers would give them their biggest lead of the game 11-2, in the early goings, thanks to early baskets by Andrada, Torres, Luigi Dela Paz, and Joshua Webb, but the Knights scrapped to claw their way back into the game, and the teams battled back and forth, with Almond Vosotros nailing a trey from the left wing near the end of the second quarter as the teams headed into their locker rooms with the score all evened up at 41.

Both Andrada and Torres rendered double-double performances as Andrada had 13 points, mostly on put backs and feeds from teammates, to go with his 10 caroms, while Torres had 12 points to complement his 10 rebounds. Mendoza also banged in 10 markers while pulling down four rebounds as the Archers asserted their might at the boards, out-rebounding their Letran counterparts, 41-33, while shooting a remarkable 53% for the entire game, while clamping down on defense of the Knights, who struggled for a 41% shooting clip.

“The boys gave a good performance today, especially on the defensive end,” says Green Archers Head Coach Gee Abanilla, who also lauded the performance of his rookies and big men. “Letran is a physical team, and nakita ko na nakikipag-banggaan na rin yung players, which is a good sign come the UAAP,” he adds.

Abanilla, however, lamented the loss of several of his key players who will not be seeing action in the tournament, such as center Arnold Van Opstal and point guard LA Revilla, who suffered a foot injury during their previous game against the San Beda Red Lions. Another person who will likely be added to that list is guard Luigi Dela Paz, who dislocated his shoulder late in the game after a stand-out performance of nine assists, five points and four rebounds.

The Knights were led by the duo of Kevin Alas and Jam Cortes, who scored 16 points apiece. Mark Cruz and Jonathan Belorio also added 15 and 13 points as the team absorbed a second setback against a lone win.

With the win, the Archers evened their win-loss card at 1-1, after dropping their opening match against the Red Lions.  Their next tiff will be against a familiar foe, the UST Growling Tigers, which will happen this May 5.

Note: Before the start of the third quarter, a full minute of silence was given to Bro. Rolly Dizon, FSC, who passed away last Wednesday night due to cancer and was the former President of De La Salle University and had also been a part of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Box Scores

DLSU-80- Teng 15, Andrada 13, Torres N. 12, Tallo 10, Mendoza 10, Vosotros 6, Dela Paz 5, Webb 4, Torres T. 3, Gotladera 2, Tampus 0, Manguera 0

Letran-73-Alas 16, Cortes 16, Cruz 15, Belorio 13, Racal 6, Lituania 3, Luib 3, Gabawan 1, Cudal 0, Pantin 0, Gabriel 0

Quarterscores: 19-17, 41-41, 63-60-80-73

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