HISTORY: Green Archers breeze past Chiefs to seize fourth title, sweep FilOil Premier Cup
Published on June 12th, 2016 | by Khyte Mendoza
De La Salle University Green Archers showed resilience to climb back against the Arellano University Chiefs, 86-74, and to hook their fourth championship in the finals of the 10th FilOil Flying V Pre-season Premier Cup at the Arena in San Juan, earlier today.
DLSU made history, becoming the only team to win four titles in the tournament, second in three years. They also posted a perfect 10-0 slate, a feat done by National University back in 2012.
6’7 Center Ben Mbala once again took care of business, chipping in double-double figures with 28 points, 26 rebounds, and eight thunderous blocks. He was also crowned as the Most Valuable Player of the finals, while Abu Tratter added 13 markers and 11 boards. Team captain Jeron Teng tallied 13 points as well.
The Green Archers mostly played catch-up in the first canto as Thomas Torres launched a triple but “The Bus Driver” Jiovani Jalalon answered with a trey of his own to take the lead, 12-9, 6:05 left in the period. However, La Salle fought back with Jollo Go connecting for a jumper to tie the game at 17-all, 2:24 remaining. Jalalon lifted the burden for the Chiefs, nailing 15 points all from rainbow country to take the driver’s seat again at the end of the quarter, 26-21.
Arellano opened the second period with a 6-0 blast to push the edge, 32-21. Montalbo launched a trey to cut the deficit, 28-35, with still 5:39 left. Mbala then put DLSU on his shoulders, scoring putbacks and free throws to inch closer, 36-38, late in the quarter. Coach Jerry Cordinera’s crew retained a two-point advantage, 42-40, at halftime.
Both teams held their grounds as the game went tit-for-tat throughout the third frame. Mbala proved to be a defensive juggernaut, unleashing chase-down blocks to freeze the Arellano offense. Rookie Aljun Melecio sank in a fastbreak lay-up to finally grab the lead for the Taft-based squad, 54-52, with 3:14 left. Abu Tratter beat the buzzer to end the quarter with the Green and White leading, 61-58.
DLSU looked to carry on their momentum in the final canto, letting the fullcourt press defense to bite and that led to a 7-0 run to pull away from AU, 68-58, with 6:35 left to play. Jalalon though refused to let go of the game but he could only do so much. Teng caught fire late in the game to put the icing on the cake for the Green Archers, 86-72.
La Salle outrebounded Arellano, 62-38, and that was just one of the stories of this game.
Jalalon topscored for the Chiefs with 32 points, 21 from beyond the arc, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists. Michael Salado contributed 16 markers and four boards.
Mbala was hailed as the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year of the tournament. He was a part of the Mythical Five as well together with frontcourt partner Tratter and Teng.
The last time the Green Archers won a pre-season championship was back in 2014, they initially won the UAAP championship that year. This victory brings so much hype for the Lasallian community and we just have to wait. ANIMO LA SALLE!