Teng pushes La Salle past Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2) Jeron Teng struggled for three quarters but came up big in the clutch as he drilled a game-winning shot to power the De La Salle Green Archers past the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 66-64, in a stirring match-up between the two arch-rivals Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Teng scored only eight points, but he made the biggest shot of the game with just 1.8 seconds to go. Isolated against Ateneo's Chris Newsome, Teng spun and rose for the jumper that crawled into the net as La Salle took the lead for good.
Kiefer Ravena, who had tied the game with a difficult lay-up with 14 seconds to go, heaved a shot from beyond the halfcourt but was well short.
"I think everyone saw it," La Salle coach Juno Sauler said when asked about their last play of the game. "Just get the ball to Jeron and I told him to make a good decision."
"If he gets doubled, he knows where the other guys would be. He made a good read there. He wasn't double-teamed, so he just made the basket."
Teng's game-winner allowed La Salle to book an elimination round sweep of Ateneo for the first time since 2001. The Green Archers actually swept the Blue Eagles in 2005, but all their wins in that season were forfeited due to eligibility issues.
Ateneo led by as much as nine points in the game, but neither team was ever really in control as momentum see-sawed between the two squads.
Almond Vosotros scored seven points in a 9-0 blast midway through the final period that gave La Salle a 57-53 lead. The lead grew to 61-55 after a triple by Jason Perkins and a split at the line by Teng.
But Ateneo's veteran guard Juami Tiongson scored on back-to-back baskets to make it a two-point game, 59-61, with still 2:30 remaining in the game.
Ateneo coach Bo Perasol was called for a technical foul after he stormed the court with a minute to go, and two free throws by Vosotros extended the lead to four, 63-59.
But Ryan Buenafe drilled a booming triple with 42 seconds left to make it a one-point game. Teng made it 64-62 after a split at the line with 19.4-seconds to go.
Ravena, who had been struggling throughout the game as well, converted on a tough lay-up but left too much time on the clock for Teng.
"All throughout the game, I couldn't get my rhythm. Noong last play, thankful ako kay Coach na he trusted me with the last play," said Teng, who shot on two-of-five from the field for the game.
With the win, La Salle now has a 7-4 record, good for solo third. Ateneo ties UST for a share of fourth place with identical 6-5 records.
"With the standings of all the other teams, I think it's a close fight," Sauler said. "The first six teams are still in a close race, so especially going into the last three or four games, every game is important."
The Green Archers struck first, with LA Revilla catching fire in the first quarter to give his team an early 10-6 lead. But Ateneo finished the opening period with a 10-3 run, sparked by Nico Elorde, to seize a 16-13 lead.
Ateneo took advantage of La Salle's foul trouble in the second period as they led by as much as nine points in the frame. But this time, it was La Salle who ended the quarter on a strong note as they reeled off seven consecutive points, capped by a buzzer-beating banked three-pointer by Vosotros, to enter halftime down just two points, 31-33.
Neither team shot well from the field, with Ateneo making 31.6% of their shots and La Salle converting 38.6%. Despite La Salle being the bigger team, the battle of the boards ended in a 46-all tie.
Vosotros finished with a game-high 19 points, while Perkins added 13 points and 15 rebounds. Revilla had a quick start, scoring six points in the first period and finishing with 11 markers.
Tiongson fired 14 points for Ateneo, who saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
La Salle and Ateneo are now tied 36-36 in their head-to-head meetings in the UAAP.
LA SALLE 66 - Vosotros 19, Perkins 13, Revilla 11, Teng 8, Torres 6, Van Opstal 4, Montalbo 3, Salem 2, Tampus 0, Reyes 0, Dela Paz 0, Bolick 0
ATENEO 64 - Tiongson 14, Elorde 13, Ravena 12, Buenafe 9, Newsome 8, Pessumal 4, Golla 2, Erram 2, Tolentino 0, Enriquez 0, Capacio 0
Quarter-scoring: 13-16, 31-33, 46-49, 66-64