De La Salle University won 91-75 over Adamson University to remain undefeated in five games in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.
Cameroonian Ben Mbala finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds, four steals and three blocks while skipper Jeron Teng contributed 15 points and four assists. The Green Archers are currently No.1 with a 5-0 win-loss record.
“We played as a team and we were able to execute very well,” Mbala told reporters during the postgame news conference. “We contained them because of our good defense. My job is to protect the paint, I just keep fighting and keep playing.”
The Falcons bombarded the Green Archers with 11 three-pointers the entire game but faltered in the rebound department. La Salle outclassed Adamson in the latter, 54-32, resulting in more second chance points (21-13) and inside points (46-18).
“We were able to execute the game plan defensively and offensively,” said La Salle coach Aldin Ayo. “Adamson is a very well-disciplined team and I like them as our opponent. We tightened our defense throughout the game.”
Although La Salle just made seven triples, the Green Archers shot more accurately than the Falcons overall in the field (47.2 percent-33.3 percent).
“For the past four games, our offense was our problem but today we were able to execute well,” added Ayo. “We started low in our first game, but we’re improving every game. I’m optimistic when the season goes along, we’re improving and we’re still going to peak at the right time.”
Aljun Melecio notched 13 points while Kim Montalbo posted 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. Guard Thomas Torres contributed 11 points also for La Salle.
“As coach said before, I have the confidence to shoot those attempts. After my injury, I’m really happy to come back. I will accept whatever role they will give,” said Montalbo.La Salle took a 22-17 lead at the end of first quarter before outscoring Adamson in the second period, 27-17, resulting in a comfortable 49-34 edge at halftime. The Falcons fought back in the third quarter but failed to sustain their defense, which the Green Archers exploited to erect a double-digit lead.
Though Mbala spent his time on the bench most of the second half because of a fourth personal foul late in the third frame, the Green Archers widened the gap more in the fourth canto.
Teng hit a floater in the last 3:25 to stretch their lead to 81-65. It was enough to secure the Green Archers’ victory over the Soaring Falcons.
After posting a back-to-back victory defeating heavily favored teams Ateneo De Manila University and National University, Adamson University absorbed their second loss.
Rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi led Adamson with 22 points, Papi Sarr had 14 points plus 15 rebounds while guard Robbie Manalang notched 15 points.
The Falcons’ win-loss record fell to a 3-2.
In the second game, Ateneo De Manila University notched an 84-69 win over University of the East (UE) to improve its win-loss record to 3-2. Ateneo and Adamson are now sharing the No.2 spot. The Red Warriors stayed winless in five games.
Anton Asistio led the Blue Eagles with 21 points.