UAAP News 2017: La Salle halts Ateneo juggernaut, 79-76
Smart Araneta QC
UAAP News 2017: De La Salle University Green Archers froze the blitzkrieg of Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles, 79-76, to end the UAAP Season 80 rivals showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum late yesterday. Ben Mbala led the Archers with 28 points, 19 rebounds, 6 blocks and steals, while Ricci Rivero chipped-in 21 markers for La Salle.
The Archers climbed back from a seven-point deficit, 69-76 in clutch time. They came back with 10-0 unanswered blast after being lambasted by DLSU mentor Aldin Ayo. “I always thrive in anger and hatred. I’ve always been there. My players can say that and that’s how I was raised,” stated Ayo.
The DLSU victory was special for La Salle after they got edged by the Katipunan-based dribblers, 75-76, in their UAAP elimination round head-to-head match. They also effectively halted Ateneo’s 13 game winning streak.
The battle which was watched by 13,967 fans at the coliseum, was marked by ugly foul calls late in the final quarter. Ateneo got slapped with 27 team fouls as compared to La Salle’s 21 game total. La Salle converted 20 freethrows out of 29, while ADMU made 19 out of 13.
Coach Tab Baldwin aired his disappointment over the soft foul calls that critically depleted Ateneo. Big men Isaac Go and Chibuze Ikeh were both in foul trouble in the last quarter. “Fans in the audience should’ve seen Ikeh and George out on the floor more than they did today, and I think that’s a shame that they weren’t. So you know, if we get into a situation in a huge environment like that, referees choose to put quality players on the bench with very, very soft calls, that’s what they get. They get a game of lesser quality than what the fans should get or what the TV audience should get,” stated Baldwin.
Thirdy Ravena paced the losing Ateneo with 15 points, while foul-riddled Isaac Go contributed 13 markers.
DLSU ended the eliminations with a 12-2 slate, while the once unbeaten Ateneo wounded-up with a 13-1 win-loss record.
The win gives La Salle the twice-to-beat advantage in the uaap UAAP Final Four. They will next face the Adamson Soaring Falcons, themselves carrying a seven-game winning streak. Ateneo likewise will have the same bonus, when they lock horns with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws this coming Sunday.
Mbala 28, Rivero R 21, Tratter 8, Santillan 7, Melecio 6, Montalbo 6, Go 3, Caracut 0, Rivero P 0, Baltazar 0, Paraiso 0.
Ravena 15, Go 13, Nieto Ma 12, Verano 9, Mendoza 7, Asistio 6, Tolentino 6, Ikeh 4, Porter 3, Nieto Mi 1, Mamuyac 0, Black 0.
17-22; 37-35; 54-63; 79-76. DLSU Wins