Green Archers aim to stretch winning streak to 12

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De la Salle U’s Ben Mbala drives on Justin Arana of University of Santo Tomas during a UAAP men’s basketball game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

De la Salle U’s Ben Mbala drives on Justin Arana of University of Santo Tomas during a UAAP men’s basketball game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

De La Salle University will gun for a 12th straight victory when it faces University of the East (UE) in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament today at the Araneta Coliseum.

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The Green Archers, who already obtained the first Final Four twice-to-beat advantage, will collide with the Red Warriors in the 2 p.m. game followed by the match between the National University (NU) Bulldogs and the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons at 4 p.m.

“We still haven’t reached our goal yet and we need to keep grinding, play defense,” said La Salle skipper Jeron Teng, who averaged 16.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in seven games. “We just have to continue to improve and become a better team.”

Besides Teng, the Green Archers will be relying on rookie Ben Mbala, Jason Perkins, Abu Tratter, Kim Montalbo, Andrei Caracut, Julian Sargent and Thomas Torres in subduing the Red Warriors.

Meanwhile, UE is facing a tough task of halting the Green Archers’ unbeaten run. The Red Warriors are coming off back-to-back losses. With a 2-8 win-loss record, UE is no longer capable of earning a Final Four spot.

Center Nick Abanto, Wilson Bartolome, Alvin Pasoal, Emil Palma, Philip Manalang, Ralph Penuela and Paul Varilla will lead the charge of the Red Warriors of coach Derrick Pumaren.

UP, meanwhile, will attempt to stop a two-game losing skid when it faces NU. After winning against Adamson last week, the Fighting Maroons lost two close battles against the Green Archers (72-78) and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (60-63) for a 3-8 win-loss record.

“Every game is an opportunity to gain experience. We have to know how to close out games. It starts with some basic aspects of the game such as rebounding and minimizing turnovers,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.

The Fighting Maroons will be banking on rookie Anthony Harris, Dave Moralde, Paul Desiderio, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel and Henry Asilum when they clash against the Bulldogs.

The crew of coach Eric Altamirano will lean on Matt Salem, Nico Abatayo, Jess Dipotado, Jay-Jay Alejandro and Alfred Aroga in their attempt to arrest their losing skid.

NU is now No.5 with a 4-7 win-loss record.

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