The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers remained undefeated on Saturday after eadging out the streaking University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 78-72, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
With the victory, the De La Salle Green Archers clinched their ninth consecutive win in as many outings, while the UP Fighting Maroons ended their two-game winning record.
The Green Archers led by as much as 19 points early in the contest, before Fighting Maroons unleashed an inspired campaign to cut the lead to just three in the second half of the game.
Ben Mbala kept the De La Salle ahead the contest with 11 points in the third quarter of the matchup, while Jeron Teng, Aljun Melecio, and Thomas Torres put up a combined 19 points in the fourth quarter helping the De La Salle claim their ninth straight victory.
The returning Jeron Teng led all scorers with 21 points, while Ben Mbala completed a total of 17 points with 20 rebounds for the Green Archers, which is now 9-0 for the season. Thomas Torres also reached double figures for the De La Salle with 13 points, while Aljun Melecio and Ricci Rivero chipped in nine points each.
DLSU was actually held to its lowest shooting percentage in UAAP Season 79 at 33.8-percent but that hardly mattered much in a contest where the varsity team were able to lead comfortably for much of the fourth quarter.
Jeron Teng dominated the first half of the game for DLSU, putting up a total of nine points in the first quarter and tallying 14 points by halftime. Meanwhile, Ben Mbala — who only scored four points in the first half of the game — then took over in the third quarter, scoring 11 big points for the DLSU but the UP were able to hang around.
The UP Fighting Maroons limited De La Salle to 34 percent from the floor, while registering a 50 percent clip after connecting on 29 of their 58 attempts. The DLSU Green Archers, on the other side of the ball, forced 33 turnovers for 26 points, while winning the rebound clash, 52-39.
Paul Desiderio scored a total of 16 points with 8 rebounds for the UP Fighting Maroons, while Jett Manuel added 13 points. Javi Gomez De Liano chipped in 11 points in 13 minutes played in the second half of the clash. The UP Fighting Maroons nosedived to 3-7 after seeing their two-game winning record snapped. — RB, Cetureon.com