Even without reigning UAAP MVP Ben Mbala, the De La Salle University Green Archers showed that they are still a force to be reckoned with as they fended off the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 95-90 , in the main event of the opening weekend of UAAP Season 80, Saturday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay city.
La Salle started the game strong as they finished the first period 29-8 courtesy of the sweet-shooting Aljun Melecio. They would push it to as big as 23 in the second period. Melecio would wind up with 20 points by halftime.
The Tamaraws would not go quietly into the night though as they cut the lead to just five points, 90-85, with a minute remaining in the game and then to four with four second remaining. Melecio would prove to be the thorn on FEU’s side again however as he sinked a free throw with four seconds remaining to ice the game.
The spitfire Melecio ended the game with 29 points, six rebounds and two steal while Andrei Caracut chipped in 16 markers. Abut Tratter was intrumental in the win as well as he tallied a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards.
For the Tamaraws, Ron Dennison led all yellow shirts in scoring with 21 to go along with seven rebounds and four assists while Wendell Comboy contributed 13 markers of his own.
FEU will look to bounce back against the UE Red Warriors on September 13, Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum while La Salle’s next assignment will be the NU Bulldogs on September 16, Saturday at 2 pm also at the same venue.