Green Archers erase 21-point deficit vs Blue Eagles to force Game 3

Published on December 2nd, 2017 | by DLSU Sports

Written by: Dara Evangelista

Game 2 of the back-to-back dream UAAP Basketball Finals held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on November 29, 2017, concluded with an outstanding victory from the Green Archers. The classic rivalry of DLSU and ADMU ended with a score of 92-83 in favor of the green side, keeping the Taft-based athletes’ championship hopes alive.

The first basket was granted to DLSU with a layup from Ricci Rivero. However, the Green Archers failed to find their rhythm during the first quarter with a mix of defensive breakdowns, giving a 32-15 lead for the Blue Eagles.

The second quarter seemed to worsen for La Salle when Ricci committed his 4th personal foul early in the period. The blue shirts also had garnered their biggest lead of the season, with 21 points ahead of their rivals. However, moments after, just when DLSU was losing hope, Ben Mbala unleashed a massive slam-dunk, providing a much-needed confidence booster for the La Salle team and the crowd. The tides turned from then on when team captain Kib Montalbo motivated his teammates during a time-out. Aljun Melecio and Montalbo then provided numerous baskets to narrow the gap to 9 by the end of the second quarter, 42-51, ADMU.

Going into the second half, minimal scoring was happening on the blue side compared to DLSU’s scoreboard being bombarded by Season 78 Rookie of the Year, Andrei Caracut. Ricci also redeemed himself when he scored six straight points, assisting Santillan in tying the game at 56-all. Mbala, then, puts the team in the lead but was immediately answered across the court, ending the scoring drought of Ateneo. With minutes to go for the third quarter, Caracut gave everything he had into a shot causing him to almost fall off the border, 66-59 DLSU. La Salle outscored Ateneo, 26-8, to turn things around and finally take the lead, 68-59.

In the payoff period, Caracut started with 2/2 on the line. Mbala was also sinking with basket after basket to keep the Katipunan-based squad at bay. Ricci side-stepped his way to the rim to push the lead to 11, 85-74, in favor of La Salle. With 20 seconds remaining, Montalbo blocked a crucial three-point attempt that would have brought AdMU closer. He, eventually, hit his charities to end the game.

Two-time MVP Ben Mbala bounced-back from a lackluster performance in Game 1 with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Ricci Rivero added 18 points, 12 in the final frame, while Andrei Caracut came live with 13 markers.

The Green Archers needed more than just brawns. They found themselves in the second quarter and played smarter than ever. They remain undefeated in the Smart Araneta Coliseum this season. Looking to defend the crown, the boys in green will be playing their hearts out on Sunday, December 3, 4pm.

Box scores:

DLSU 92 – Mbala 20, Ri. Rivero 18, Caracut 13, Melecio 12, Montalbo 9, Santillan 8, Ra. Rivero 8, Tratter 4, Tero 0, Go 0, Baltazar 0

ADMU 82 – Ravena 20, Black 15, Asistio 13, Go 11, Ma. Nieto 10, Ikeh 6, Mendoza 5, Tolentino 2, Tio 1, Verano 0, Mi. Nieto 0, Mamuyac 0, Porter 0

Quarter-scores: 15-32, 42-51, 68-59, 92-83.

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