La Salle avoided another fourth quarter meltdown with a 70-67 win over the resilient Adamson Soaring Falcons. For the first 35 minutes of the game, the Archers were in control of the ballgame. For most of the game, La Salle enjoyed a double-digit advantage. Adamson would make some runs but the Green Archers, who led by as much as 18, would quickly counter. During the 5:30 mark of the fourth quarter, they were enjoying a 15-point lead. Clearly, the Archers learned their lesson and there is no way the Falcons can come back. Right?
For the third straight game, La Salle blew a huge fourth quarter lead. It was a déjà vu for the Green and White gallery. It was a good size crowd for a weekday game, and the Adamsonians cheered in glee when their team made an, gulp, expected fourth quarter run, or should I say, an expected La Salle fourth quarter collapse. The fans wearing green cringe at the thought of blowing a game for the third time in a row! With the game tied at 65l, Jeron Teng drove hard to the basket and got fouled. Then, he made two crucial free throws. Yes, there is no typo, JERON MADE TWO STRAIGHT CLUTCH FREE THROWS! Meanwhile,Adamson failed to score in their next possession. After the much talk about unsportsmanlike foul on Falcon Gian Abrigo, Norbert Torres went to the line and sank two more free throws. Then Norbert got fouled again and split his charities for a comfortable 70-65 lead. Abrigo was fouled while taking a three during their last possession. He made two out of three free throws to settle the final score. It was a huge and much-needed win for the Archers. Para kaming nabunutan ng tinik. With only a few wins separating the second to seventh place teams, every game is important, every game is a must-win.
Reviewing Keys to the Game
1. Stop Jericho Cruz
I would put a check mark for this one. Though Cruz scored 13 points, he shot only 1-5 from the three-point region. And he did not go to the free throw line. I would love to say that the La Salle guards played great defense on him, but Jericho just had a sub-par game for his standards. He missed shots that he normally makes. He made good passes that his teammates just failed to covert, sometimes even from point blank range. It was a good thing for La Salle that Jericho did not play as well as he did against NU.
2. Stop Ingrid Sewa
I would also put a check mark for this one. Sewa only scored five points. He did grab eight rebounds but that was a far cry from his 13-rebound performance during their last game. He did blocked two shots though. I said in my pre-game that Sewa is good enough to get a double-double; so fortunately for La Salle, he failed to do so. And Sewa did not contain the big guys of La Salle as Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres and Jason Perkins all had good games.
3. Play consistent for 40 minutes
If I put “ Play consistent for 35 minutes”, this would have been a check mark. For the third straight game, La Salle played poorly during the end game. It’s a good thing that this time around, DLSU was able to make the crucial free throws to get the W. I am not so sure if we can enter the Final Four if we keep on collapsing towards the end, hoping that we build a big enough lead and that we can make our shots during crunch time. La Salle can’t afford to have another fourth quarter meltdown in their remaining games, or else, we, the loyal La Salle fans watching the game, will have a meltdown as well!
4. Free Throws
IT’S A MIRACLE! YES! YES! YES! A huge check mark! 18/22 from the line for a whooping 98%! Ok, it’s actually just 81.8%. I said in my pre-game that La Salle may shot better from the line because there are less people during weekday games, meaning less pressure from the crowd. Well, it was a good size crowd for a weekday, and it was a very loud crowd. La Salle made 5/6 clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the win. But the most impressive stat is that Jeron was 100% from the line! 4/4 from the charity stripe including two clutch free throws to give the Archers the lead for good! Hopefully, La Salle can prove that this is no fluke, that they can do it in front of tens of thousands of fans in jam-packed weekend game.
Good all-around team effort for the Archers. Jason Perkins had another monster double-double performance with 13 points and 13 rebounds in his Araneta debut. “The Bear” Norbert Torres showed up and scored 13 points. Jeron Teng notched 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds and for the nth time, he made two clutch free throws. Vosotros contributed 11 points while AVO chipped in 10 points. LA Revilla also had a good game, he scored six points and quarterbacked well for La Salle as he showed poised veteran leadership, something this young team needs.
Once again, La Salle blew a huge lead during the fourth quarter. Fortunately this time around, La Salle was able to survive and made their free throws. Also, DLSU only shot 4/23 from the three-point line. As I said before, a beautiful girl is similar to the three-point shot, easy to fall in love with but it can easily break your heart as well. Poor time management and poor shot selection from La Salle down the stretch. We need to learn to manage our lead next time around.
Next stop for La Salle is a hungry NU Bulldogs team. Both teams are at 3-3 and are battling for playoff positions. La Salle needs to end the first round in style, to build momentum for the second round and to put themselves in better position. And for the nth time, to end my article, although with a different meaning this time around, FREE THROWS!!!