Thanks to a Kib Montalbo dagger, the De La Salle University Green Archers fought off a pesky Adamson University Soaring Falcons squad, 86-79, in the second round of eliminations of UAAP Season 79 Sunday afternoon at the Mall of Asia arena in Pasay city.
With Adamson climbing back from a 16-point hole and only down by two points, 81-79, with less than a minute remaining, Montalbo buried a catch-and-shoot three-pointer with 46.7 seconds left to douse the Falcons comeback rally.
“That was big,” said La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo of Montalbo’s shot. “From one posession lead it became two-posession basketball. Five points. Good thing we executed on that sideline inbound. We do that everyday.”
Playing without Jeron Teng, the Archers leaned on Ben Mbala who had 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while rookie Ricci Rivero was crucial in limited minutes with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. The off-guard Montalbo finished with eight points, four rebounds and two assists
“It was a hard fought game. They were able to find ways to get back to the game,” said Mbala. “We had a really hard time running out plays. It got a little bit harder for us but were able to keep playing.”
For Adamson, Jerrick Ahamnisi had 27 points, seven rebounds and two steals in a losing effort while Pape Sarr, hampered by foul trouble all game long, managed to produce 13 points ans six rebounds.
Adamson has now dropped to 4-4 while La Salle is still undefeated at 8-0.
La Salle: Mbala 18, R. Rivero 14, Melecio 11, Torres 9, Montalbo 8, Tratter 7, Perkins 5, Caracut 4, Baltazar 4, Paraiso 2, Dyke 2, Sargent 0, Go 0.
Adamson: Ahamnisi 27, Sarr 13, Manganti 12, Espeleta 11, Bernardo 6, Manalang 3, Ochea 3, Mustre 3, Ng 3, Paranada 0, Camacho 0, Pasturan 0, Ballon 0, Tungcab 0, Barrera 0, Chua 0.