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Archers notch year’s biggest blowout win, rip Tigers by 35

PLAYING straight up defense did the trick for the defending champion La Salle Green Archers as they smothered the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 94-59, yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In the end, the Green Archers pulled off the season’s biggest blowout in the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament – a 35-point win that was bigger than their 115-86 demolition of the same team in the first round.

“We played well on defense. We were able to get them to commit many turnovers and we were able to convert on transition offense,” said the Archers’ main man, 6’8” Ben Mbala.

Mbala, who led with 17 points and nine rebounds, has become one of team’s most eloquent spokespersons.

This is after coach Aldin Ayo decided to remain silent for the last seven games to focus on dealing with the team’s many ups and downs. 

The Green Archers, who won by a bigger margin of 45 points with their 99-56 crushing of UST last year, have stretched their winning run to six and now have a 10-2 record in second place.

Marvin Lee shot 25 points, while Steve Akomo had 14 for UST.

The Tigers, who have not won a single game in the last 12 outings, made an effort to take charge in the first period. They event got the lead on back-to-back baskets from Akomo, 10-7, with 5:20 left.

The Growling Tigers’ hold on the lead did not last long. 

Mbala stepped in with a couple of layups and Abu Tratter connected with his charities, handing La Salle a 15-12 lead with 1:52 remaining.

The Green Archers then held UST down to eight in the second period as they pulled away, 26-16, behind Tratter and Kib Montalbo. 

With 4:47 left in the first half, Joshua Caracut’s attack saw La Salle take a 10-point lead over UST to 10, 30-20.

 Ricci Rivero, who had 16, then banged in a pair of  three-point plays in the last 3:02, allowing La Salle to lead UST by 18, 38-20.

 Jolo Go scored 12, while Aljun Melecio made six, including a three-pointer which allowed La Salle to lead by 27,  55-28, with 7:31 left in the third period.

 La Salle gained a 36-point lead with a minute left in the third period when  Tratter, who had eight points and 15 boards, scored from the inside, 75-39.

 The Scores

First game

DLSU 94 – Mbala 17, Rivero R 16, Go 12, Rivero P 10, Tratter 8, Caracut 7, Melecio 6, Santillan 6, Capacio 5, Baltazar 4, Montalbo 2, Paraiso 1, Tero 0, Gonzales 0

UST 59 – Lee 25, Akomo 14, Sta. Ana 4, De Guzman 4, Basibas 4, Escalambre 4, Macasaet 2, Soriano 2, Faundo 0, Caunan 0, Romero 0, Kwawukumey 0

Quarterscores: 20-16, 45-24, 77-41, 94-59.

Games Saturday (Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. Ateneo vs UST
4 p.m. La Salle vs NU

Topics: La Salle Green Archers , University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers , 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines , men’s basketball tournament
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