UST's Jeric Teng guards his brother, La Salle's Jeron Teng, in Game 2 of their UAAP Basketball title series on Saturday. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNNews.com
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – De La Salle University banked on an aggressive start to overpower University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in Game 2 of their best-of-three UAAP basketball finals, 77-70, on Saturday.
Making up for their 72-73 setback to the Tigers in Game 1, the Archers played with more intensity and aggression to level the series and force a rubber match on Saturday.
La Salle also made full use of its height advantage to thwart several UST runs, even leading by as much as 17 points.
The Archers out-rebounded the Tigers, 57-39, with 27 on the offensive end.
Norbert Torres was the most dominant big man of them all, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to go with his 3 blocks.
"We just tried playing aggressive, that's what coach wants," said Torres, who atoned for his lackluster performance in Game 1 where he was held to just 2 points.
They also successfully shackled most of UST scorers, particularly Kevin Ferrer, who did the most damage against La Salle in Game 1.
Ferrer was held to just 6 points, a far cry from his 20-point performance in the past game.
Karim Abdul had 13, while Aljon Mariano, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, had 9. It was Jeric Teng who carried the fight for UST by scoring 28 points.
In contrast, most of the seven players La Salle fielded were able to contribute offensively.
Jeron Teng had 19 points while Arnold Van Opstal chipped in 13.
Almond Vosotros, who bombed in the dying minutes of Game 1, had 11 points, while LA Revilla scored 9.
It was a close fight between two squads early in the game as the scores were tied, 12-all, midway in the first. But Teng's putback started a 13-0 run for La Salle, which had UST reeling from a 15-23 deficit.
Abdul momentarily ended the drought for UST. However, Vosotros and Torres put the Archers at a safe distance, 30-19, in the middle of the second quarter.
UST later unreeled 6 straight points, to come within 7 points, 38-31. Teng's free throw and another Torres' basket kept the Tigers at bay, 41-31.
The Tigers threatened one last time when Clark Bautista’s 3-pointer pulled UST within 1, 43-44. But La Salle consistently attacked the basket, weakening UST inside the paint.
UST still has one more chance to be the first fourth-seed to win the UAAP championship when they clash next Saturday in Game 3 at the Mall Of Asia Arena.
La Salle, on the other hand, will want to duplicate the feat that they did in 1999 when they fought back from a 0-1 deficit to win the championship.
DLSU 77: Teng 19, N Torres 16, Van Opstal 13, Vosotros 11, Revilla 9, Perkins 7, T Torres 2
UST 70: Teng 28, Abdul 13, Mariano 9, Sheriff 6, Ferrer 6, Bautista 6, Lo 2, Pe 0, Daquioag 0
Quarter-scores: 21-12, 41-33, 64-53, 77-70