The UST Growling Tigers defeat the De La Salle Green Archers, 73-72, taking Game 1 in the best-of-three Finals.

After La Salle scored the first basket of the game, UST unloaded a huge 18-0 run to build a commanding lead early on. The inexperience of La Salle in a Finals setting was obvious for this game as they had a slow start, missing several easy layups. In the words of Jeric Teng, “there is no substitute for experience” and the Tigers’ experience proved to be a factor in Game 1.

After a slow start, La Salle was able to regain their composure and make a rally to keep the game close all throughout. The second hald saw several lead changes, showcasing the will of La Salle to rally back and gain control of the ball game.

With 29 seconds left in the game and UST up by only one point, Aljon Mariano turned the ball over giving DLSU a chance to win it all. LA Revilla drove to the basket then made a pass to Almond Vosotros who positioned for a three but missed. La Salle was able to get one last shot but Abdul had other plans, blocking the shot and sending the yellow crowd in frenzy while leaving the fans in green in utter shock and disbelief.

Walang kapatid kapatid! (Photo Credit: Jerome Ascano/ Spin.ph)

Walang kapatid-kapatid! (Photo Credit: Jerome Ascano, Spin.ph)

Review of the Keys to the Game

Defense

Optimistically, only two Tigers should reach the double-digit mark. How wrong was I. Keving Ferrer scored 20 points on an amazing shooting performance. He went 5 of 8 from the three-point line and did not miss a single free throw or a two-point field goal. Karim Abdul put up 19 points and Jeric Teng contributed 17 of his own.

The Archers need to tweak its defense against the three scorers of UST or the series will end on the second game.

Rebounding

La Salle barely won the rebounding battle with a 44-43 scorecard. The Archers will have to truly dominate the boards in the next outing. Jason Perkings grabbed 11 rebounds for the Archers. As for the Tigers, the only player with a double-digit rebounding performance was Karim Abdul. Teng was able to contribute seven boards and six for Kevin Ferrer.

The Twin Towers must do a better job at crashing the boards in order for La Salle to fully exploit their size advantage.

‘Vosotres’

Finally! A resounding check on this one!

‘Vosotres’ made three triples and scored 20 big points for the Green and White, even though it was not enough to claim the win. The good news here is that the shooting slump seems to be over for Almond Vosotros. The La Salle faithful are hoping that this performance will continue to Game 2.

The Good

  • Vosotros is finally out of his shooting slump – a huge relief for the fans of La Salle.
  • La Salle was able to grab 18 offensive rebounds and turned it into 12 second-chance points as compared to UST’s seven offensive rebounds for only two second-chance points.
  • Jeron Teng scored 15 points in his first Finals game, including a huge three-point play during crunch time.
  • Arnold Van Opstal contributed 13 points while Jason Perkins continues his consistent ways with an 11-point, 11-rebound performance.

The Bad

The slow start of the Archers boosted UST’s rally to a huge 18-2 lead, swinging momentum and confidence to the Tigers’ side. Consequently, this breathe life to the ever so loud UST crowd. Hopefully, with the championship jitters supposedly taken care of after the first outing, the Green Archers can start the game with a good pace and rhythm.

Also, La Salle only shot 14 of 22 from the free throw line with Norbert Torres and Jeron Teng missing a couple of free throws during the fourth period.

Although he scored 15 points, Jeron struggled with his shooting, 5 of 16 from the field. The King Archer needs to make better shot-selections if La Salle wants to force a rubber match.

Final Thoughts

A one-point victory for the Game 1 of the Finals – the basketball gods must love Philippines so much! With UST as the Cinderella team and Jeric Teng itching to end his UAAP career with a crown, will the La Salle team break the barrier and pull off a Game Three deciding match? Or will the Archers take it all home?