Published on July 23rd, 2014 | by DLSU Sports0
Green Archers halt NU to notch first victory
Heroic performances from big men Jason Perkins and Norbert Torres towed the DLSU Green Archers above the NU Bulldogs, 57-55, in a thrilling finish in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament’s midweek game day earlier. With the win, La Salle eases their woes following two heartbreaking defeats.
Perkins and Torres scored 14 and 13 respectively while also combining for 15 rebounds and 4 assists. Jeron Teng scored a point shy of double-digits but also collected six boards and five assists. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were led by Alfred Aroga and Troy Rosario. The NU’s twin towers scored 22 points but missed three valuable free-throws that would have shaped a different story altogether.
Not the usual upbeat start
In the two losses against the Tamaraws and the Blue Eagles, La Salle outscored their opponents in the first period only for them to surrender the leads in the end. This time, a similar beginning unfolded but unlike La Salle’s tormentors, the Bulldogs wanted a brighter opening.
The Archers paced anew to an early lead, this time leading 12-4 in a low-tempo game. Not wanting to be buried under a hole, NU’s Jayjay Alejandro and Troy Rosario made their presence felt on the offensive end to guide the Bulldogs to a 16-12 first quarter finish. At the same time, La Salle was held scoreless in the final 3:21 of the opening period.
NU threatened to pull away at the start of the second but La Salle’s big men asserted their dominance inside the paint to turn the game around inside the opening six minutes of the game when they recorded a 16-5 momentum-swinging run which prompted NU Head Coach Eric Altamirano to sue for time. His breather paid dividends when his wards reduced the deficit they were chasing to four but the Archers still maintained control at halftime with a six-point lead.
Another collapse loomed large
The third quarter has seen an occasional exchange of baskets and a lot of missed chances between the Bulldogs and the Archers. Almond Vosotros’ baseline jumper brought La Salle up 45-37, but NU responded with urgency to reduce DLSU’s lead to two at the end of the third.
Momentum went the Bulldogs’ way right after Teng split his freethrow shots. Last year’s best team in the elimination round rampaged to six unanswered points to snatch the advantage from La Salle. Arnold van Opstal’s offensive foul was followed by Rosario’s go-ahead basket with 7:28 on the clock. Torres pushed La Salle back in front only for Rosario to score again for NU to regain the lead.
“The Bear” and “Hefty Lefty” to the rescue
The game went down the wire when both teams were locked at 49-apiece in the last three minutes and change. A barren minute followed to escalate tension between the two teams. Norbert Torres delivered a huge shot from close range to give La Salle a slim advantage. The Bear failed to convert his bonus freethrow but teammate Perkins was aware enough to grab the ball and earn another trip to the line. The Minnesota native downed both his foul shots to expand the lead of the Archers to four.
On the other end with only a second less than a minute in the game, Rosario scored off a putback to bring the Bulldogs closer. Like Torres, the NU forward missed the extra foul shot. However, the Archers secured possession to avoid an extra opportunity for the Bulldogs. Moments after, Teng missed his shot but Perkins was at the right place at the right time for a follow-up that padded the Archers’ advantage to four at 55-51 with only 37 seconds to go.
Aroga scored a quick lay-in to keep NU’s chances of winning alive. The Bulldogs even had a chance to tie or win the game following a miss from La Salle but Gelo Alolino and Aroga failed to communicate hence losing control of the ball as it sailed out of bounds. DLSU Head Coach Juno Sauler asked for a timeout to execute a quick inbound play as there were only 1.9 seconds on the shot-clock and 8.7 left in the game.
Perkins was strong and fast enough to finish a basket from underneath the hoop just in time to extend La Salle’s lead, 57-53. The Bulldogs tried to crawl back but they only managed to score a two-point shot courtesy of Alolino’s buzzer-beating putback—clearly not enough to hand La Salle their third straight loss.
“Too early to celebrate”
Despite the win, Sauler reckons that a lot of things still need improvement for the Archers to succeed in their next games. They shot worse than NU from the field and also grabbed less rebounds but their aggressiveness earned them multiple trips to the line, wherein they made a relatively good 68% (13/19).“We still have to find ways to execute things. I think we stepped up defensively,” remarked Sauler in the post-game press conference. He pointed out that NU only scored 12 in the fourth—a stark contrast against Ateneo and FEU who scored 30 or more in the final period. “We just have to toughen up defensively, especially in the end game,” Sauler concluded.
Game photos can be viewed in our Facebook page by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.535306989931392.1073741988.343223135806446&type=1
DLSU (57) – Perkins 14, N. Torres 13, Teng 9, Vosotros 7, Van Opstal 7, Andrada 3, Montalbo 2, Rivero 2, Bolick 0.
NU (55) – Aroga 12, Rosario 10, Khobuntin 9, Alolino 9, Javelona 5, Dipulado 4, Alejandro 3, Neypes 2, Perez 1, Betayene 0, Atangan 0, Salim 0, Celda 0.
Quarter scores: 12-16, 35-29, 45-43, 57-55.