(Photo credit: Evan Mogol/ Sports Gateway PH)
Courtesy of a momentum changing run in the second half, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers fought off the Arellano University (AU) Chiefs, 86-74, to finish undefeated and as the champions of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Chiefs actually led for most of the game courtesy of 23 first half points from Jiovani Jalalon but the Archers clawed back to take the lead in a third quarter that saw six deadlocks. La Salle then proceeded to go on an 11-0 run that bridged the fourth quarter to post a 12-point lead, 70-58, with 6:18 to play. The Archers would never look back as turnovers from Arellano courtesy of La Salle’s full court press saw the lead to balloon to 16 points in the final period.
In what might be the story for all of La Salle’s opponents all tournament long, Arellano had no answer for La Salle’s front line composed of Tournament MVP Ben Mbala and fellow Mythial Five awardees Abu Tratter and Jeron Teng. Mbala finished with a monster stat line of 28 points, 26 rebounds and eight blocks while Tratter finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Teng, who is coming off an injury, finished with 13 points as well to go along with 4 rebounds.
“We were down in the first quarter and the first half but we stuck with the system. Laban lang ng laban . Nakita mo yung composure and nakita mo dun ‘yung willingness to win especially ng mga leaders namin,” said DLSU Head Coach Aldin Ayo.
“‘Yung first quarter hindi kami nag-execute sa gameplan namin e. May space pa kami na binigay kay Jio (Jalalon),” said Ayo.
“Yung gameplan namin alam namin na mabilis si Jio, alam namin na magcrecreate ng opportunities for his teammates every time mag blo-blow by pero yung gameplan namin kahit mabilis we still have to pressure him.” Ayo added of Jalalon who carried Arellano in the game as he finished with 32 points including six pullup three-pointers in the first period to go along with six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“It was a hard fought game, it was a test of character for us.” Ayo said.
Ayo, however, stressed they still had much to improve on and kept things in perspective for his team: “Madami pa kaming lapses, we’re going to work on that.”
“Kung mataas yung na-achieve namin ngayon, we will not be satisfied in that. We’re going to still continue improving and continue working hard kasi this is just a preparation lang naman e. Our main concern, our priority of course is our mother league which is the UAAP.”
DLSU: Mbala 28, Tratter 13, Teng 13, Torres 9, Caracut 7, Montalbo 5, Melecio 5, Go 4, Gob 2, Dyke 0, Langston 0.
AU: Jalalon 32, Salado 16, Flores 6, Gumaru 5, Enriquez 4, Canete 3, Nichols 2, Cadavis 2, Meca 2, Aguilar 2, Holts 0, Villoria 0, Ongulo 0, Gupilan 0.