2 p.m. – Ateneo vs. UST (M)
4 p.m. – UE vs. La Salle (M)
Debuting La Salle coach Gee Abanilla knows what prized recruit Jeron Teng can provide for the Green Archers. And the highly-touted 6-foot-3 forward was quick to repay Abanilla’s trust Sunday.
Teng pumped in 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including a momentum-shifting completed three-point play, as La Salle survived a ferocious fightback from the University of the Philippines with a scrambling 73-68 victory that opened their title drive in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
A highly-touted rookie this season, Teng also collared six boards in 24 minutes of action and got plenty of support from Norbert Torres, LA Revilla and Yutien Andrada to help the Archers join opening day winners National University and Far Eastern University at the top of the eight-team field.
The nail-biting win also extended La Salle’s mastery of UP to five games since Season 73.
“We know what he can do and provide us,” said Abanilla of Teng, a former Xavier Golden Stallion who exploded for 104 points in a high school game.
[RELATED CONTENT: Photos from the DLSU-UP game]
“I had a bad start and nag-adjust na lang ako. Buti nakabawi sa second half,” stated Teng.
The 6-foot-6 Torres finished with team-highs of 16 points and 14 boards while shifty playmaker Revilla sparkled for 15 markers and 11 rebounds–only the third double-double outing by a guard in the last three years.
The lanky Andrada came off the bench and commendably held the fort for the Archers in the lane, scattering 10 points, all in the first half, on top of 11 boards and two blocks.
Mike Silungan drained 12 of his 18 points in the first half while rookie guard Henry Asilum added 12 and Mark Lopez eight for the Maroons, who nearly pulled off a monumental stunner.
“It’s a tough win for us,” stressed Abanilla, who replaced Dindo Pumaren. “It’s only our first game. It’s a period of adjustment for us. Our combinations didn’t work. That’s something we have to work on.”
Just when the Archers appeared headed to victory after posting their biggest lead at 56-40 off Torres’ free throw with two minutes left in the third quarter, Lopez ignited the Maroons’ 15-2 rally with six straight points bridging the fourth canto.
Asilum’s two made free throws off Revilla’s unsportmanlike foul pulled UP to within 55-58 but Teng answered right back with four straight points then Torres added five more that extended La Salle’s lead to 67-58 with just 3:34 left.
The Maroons, however, wouldn’t give up, with Silungan collecting five laced by two free throws off Teng’s unsportmanlike foul followed by a booming triple from Alvin Padilla, pushing them to within 66-67.
Tested at the line, Teng bungled his three free throws and then got schooled by Padilla with a 12-foot- jumper that put UP on top 68-67 as their fans–along with Ateneo’s own–cheered wildly.
Off a timeout, Revilla drove hard and issued a perfect feed to Teng, who took it strong to the hoop against the defense of UP’s American import Cris Ball.
With his father and brother Jeric cautiously watching from the stands, Teng, this time, sank his bonus shot for a 70-68 lead time down to just 27.5 ticks.
“Iniisip ko shoot ‘yun,” Teng said of his three missed free throws in the crunch. “Malakas lang pero hindi naman ako kinabahan.”
Andrada and Luigi Dela Paz, who had nine points, preserved Teng’s heroics with two straight defensive stops against Jett Manuel and Silungan, respectively. Three made free throws by Revilla and Torres pegged the final count.
La Salle 73 – Torres 16, Teng 15, Revilla 15, Andrada 10, Mendoza 6, Webb 2, Van Opstal 0, Vosotros 0, Gotladera 0, Tallo 0, Manguera 0.
UP 68 – Silungan 18, Asilum 12, Lopez 10, Soyud 8, Padilla 7, Manuel 5, Ball 4, Romero 2, Hipolito 2, Wierzba 0, Montecastro 0, Gamboa 0, Gallarza 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16, 35-29, 56-46, 73-68.