De La Salle University convincingly crushed host University of Santo Tomas (UST), 100-62, to stay undefeated in three games in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Rookie center Ben Mbala finished with 18 points highlighted by a 10-of-14 shooting in the foul line on top of 16 rebounds. Swingman Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres notched 13 and 11 points, respectively for La Salle.
The Green Archers grabbed the lead 23-19 in the first quarter en route to a 44-35 advantage at halftime. La Salle was beyond reach 73-49, in the final canto and never looked back.
“This is what happens if we play as a team,” La Salle coach Aldin Ayo told reporters during the postgame interview.
Abu Tratter notched 10 points and eight rebounds, while Kim Montalbo and Aljun Melencio had eight points apiece for the Green Archers. La Salle is currently leading with a 3-0 win-loss record.
Henry Subido led UST with 18 points. The Growling Tigers’ win-loss record dropped to 1-2.
In the first game, Ateneo De Manila University repulsed Far Eastern University (FEU), 76-71, for its second win after three games.
The Blue Eagles lost to the National University (NU) Bulldogs 60-70, on Sunday.
Thirdy Ravena, the younger brother of former Ateneo skipper Kiefer Ravena finished with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the field plus three rebounds and two steals for the Blue Eagles.
“This game is about who wants it more,” Ravena said.
John Wong and Jose Mendoza scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for Ateneo. Mike Nieto posted nine points and 11 rebounds, while Ikeh Chibueze contributed eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks also for the Blue Eagles.
“We’d like to see more of the defensive effort and stats of the first half. FEU also made adjustments in the second half. So we had to do some adjustments too,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
Ateneo, capitalizing on Ravena’s hot start, grabbed the lead 18-10 in the first quarter. The Blue Eagles took the second and third quarter resulting in a double-digit advantage comes the early part of the fourth canto.
Despite FEU’s fourth quarter comeback that brought the score to 66-all in the last 2:15, Antonio Asistio led Ateneo’s 5-0 counter allowing his team to reclaim the lead 71-66, with 1:22 left in the game. Asistio, with a mere seven-point output, sealed Ateneo’s win with two free throws to end the game at 76-69 in their favor.
The defending champion Tamaraws’ win-loss record fell to 1-2.
“We had a lot of room for improvement but we feel our effort and focus especially on defense was there,” added Arespacochaga.
Wendelino Comboy posted a career-high 20 points; Reymar Jose had 16 points plus 10 rebounds, while Prince Orizu tallied 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Tamaraws.