The De la Salle University Green Archers beat archrival Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles, 82-73, in the first round match-up of the ongoing UAAP Season 76 seniors basketball at Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City yesterday.
The Green Archers outscored the defending champions, in the third quarter to secure a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Blue Eagles were playing minus the services of star player Kieffer Ravena.
In the payoff period, both teams traded shots but the Archers were unstoppable as they rode high on the spectacular performance from Arnold Van Opstal, 2012 UAAP rookie of the year Jeron Teng, Almond Vosotross and Negrense Luigi Dela Paz.
Vosotross led the Archers with 19 points, Opstal finished with 18 points, 11 of them in the second half, while Jeron Teng delivered 13 points and Dela Paz contributed 10 points. Dela Paz is from Silay City in Negros Occidental and used to play for the University of St. La Salle-IS juniors team.
La Salle was up 70-64 with 4:35 minutes left when Chris Newsome Ateneo scored on a breakaway layup to bring the lead down to four points at 70-66 with 4:20 remaining.
The Archers once again pulled away with a 4-0 burst from the split charities of Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal but Newsome and Ryan Buenafe responded with four straight points to keep Ateneo within striking distance.
De la Paz played the hero in the final two minutes when he converted a triple from the left wing with 1:49 left to give La Salle a 77-70 lead.
The Blue Eagles, however, refused to give up as Elorde converted a layup to trim the lead to five, 77-72, but the Archers confidently put the game away with a 6-0 run behind the heroics of Dela Paz and Vosotross.
The win was the Archers’ second after three outings, to secure the No. 3 spot in the team standings behind unbeaten Far Eastern University, 3-0, and No. 2 University of Sto. Tomas, 2-0.
Ateno remains winless in the tournament after absorbing defeats in the hands of National University and FEU.*NAB
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