How sweep it is!
The De La Salle Green Archers completed an incredible second round run by defeating the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 69-64. After a slow 3-4 first round filled with heartbreaking games of fourth quarter meltdowns, La Salle changed to an “Unstoppable Green Machine” during the second round as the Archers finally learned to win in the clutch. With the win, La Salle finished the eliminations at 10-4 for a triple-tie at first with NU and FEU. Due to a superior quotient, NU gets the first seed and the twice-to-beat advantage while La Salle and FEU will duke it out in a “virtual best of 3” for a trip to the Finals. UST fell to 7-6, and will face Ateneo this Wednesday in a do-or-die game for the last Final Four slot.
Unlike the first round meeting when UST controlled most of the game, La Salle controlled this game from start to finish. La Salle even built a 14-point lead at one point. But UST fought back and cut the lead all the way down to just two points. This is quite similar to the second round game against FEU when they built a 22-point lead only for FEU to cut it all the way down to two. But La Salle now knows how to whether the storm. Once again, Jeron Teng delivered in the clutch and La Salle pulled away for the win.
Reviewing the Keys to the Game
Battle of Teng Brothers
Jeron won this matchup with his older brother convincingly as Jeron scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Jeron shot a decent 6/14 from the field, and made 6/7 free throws. Jeric only scored 10 points on just 4/16 shooting from the field. His shoulder injury obviously bothered his shooting all game long. This is likely the last battle of the Teng brothers in the UAAP and they split their games against each other with an even 2-2 mark.
Battle of the big guys
After struggling the past few games, Norbert Torres finally went on “Grizzly Bear” mode as he scored 14 points in 5/6 shooting from the field and grabbed 13 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end. Jason Perkins had a silent first half as he was saddled with foul trouble but scored all of his seven points in the third quarter, and he grabbed eight rebounds. Arnold Van Opstal chipped in six points and five rebounds. But the big guys of UST had good games as well. Karim Abdul scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds though he struggled from the field making only 4/12 shots. Aljon Mariano scored 16 points but he only shot 5/14 from the field. Kevin Ferrer struggled offensively, scoring just five points, but he grabbed 12 rebounds. The big guys of both teams played well for this game so I have to put an “even” mark for this one.
Play consistent for 40 minutes
I have to put a check mark for this one as La Salle controlled the game from start to finish, Even though UST cut the 14-point lead of La Salle all the way down to two, La Salle showed composure down the stretch and did not panic at all La Salle showed maturity all through out the second round.
La Salle controlled the boards, 53-41, and DLSU dominated the offensive rebounding category 19-9. With the huge lead in the offensive rebounding, La Salle was able to get 21 second chance points, while UST only had two the second chance points. Norbert Torres led the way with 13 points, six of them offensively, while Jeron Teng grabbed 11 rebounds, five of them offensively. And La Salle shot well from the charity stripe, making 13 of 17 shots with Jeron making 6 of 7!
Almond Vosotros once again struggled from the three-point region. No “Vosotres” performance this time as he went 0/11 from the three-point line, though he still finished with 11 points. La Salle needs “Vosotres” in the Final Four in order to make it in the Finals.
La Salle is peaking at the right time. A seven-game winning streak going into the Final Four, the momentum is clearly with the Green Archers. La Salle will face FEU in a virtual best-of-three Final Four show down. La Salle can match up well with FEU, as evident with both the elimination round games of both teams when La Salle but huge double-digit leads at both games. Can La Salle barge into the finals for the first time since 2008? We will find out the answer to that question in a week or two! The Final Four is upon us. To quote the commentators before the start of the games, “It is time to start the fun!”