SAN JUAN City – With nothing at stake except pride, De La Salle University swept its elimination round assignments at the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup by disposing of Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 78-70. It was a bittersweet reunion for DLSU coach Aldin Ayo with the same Knights he steered to last year’s NCAA championship.
For a moment, the Knights looked to show their former mentor that he taught them well by controlling the first half, 34-31. Rey Nambatac was his usual prodigious self while drawing big support from Christian Balagasay and Jerrick Balanza.
Enough was enough as the Green Archers opened the second half with Jeron Teng, Benoit Mbala and Thomas Torres at the firing end to lead after the third period, 60-49. It was smooth sailing from there as DLSU tallied its seventh straight victory and the top seeding in Group B.
“There is no pressure on us; I just have to keep the players motivated,” said Coach Ayo. “We have not lost in three months but I don’t think we are peaking too early.”
Up next for the Green Archers is a quarterfinal date with reigning UAAP champion Far Eastern University, a match Coach Ayo is looking forward to. “They are a good team and we want to measure how we stack up against a champion team,” added Coach Ayo.
Jeron Teng powered the Green Archers with 22 points and four assists. Mbala had his usual monster numbers of 14 points, 18 rebounds and two steals.
The trio of Nambatac, Balagasay and Jomari Sollano topped the Knights with 11 points each. Letran ended their FilOil stint with a three-game losing slump for a 2-5 win-loss card.
Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila got the better of archrival and defending champion De La Salle-Zobel in the Juniors Division, 76-69. Sadly, both teams will not advance to the playoffs with the Blue Eagles finishing with an even 2-2 card, a game ahead of the 1-3 Junior Archers.
How They Scored:
ATENEO DE MANILA (76) – Belangel 21, Credo 19, Ildefonso 9, Flores 6, Salazar 6, Santos 5, Angeles 4, Manuel 4, Gatmaitan 2, J. Laud 0, Berjay 0, Espino 0, Sotto 0, Escalona 0, G. Laud 0.
DE LA SALLE-ZOBEL (69) – Sobrevega 23, Romero 13, Mariano 12, Carlos 6, Omer 4, Vista 2, Cosejo 2, Diaz 2, Umali 2, Laurente 2, Damales 1, Rabor 0, Yabut 0, Terrado 0, Santos 0, Banal 0, Mendiro 0.
Period Scores: 24-19, 40-29, 57-50, 76-69.
DE LA SALLE (78) – Teng 22, Mbala 14, Go 10, Tratter 9, Torres 9, R. Rivero 8, Caracut 6, P. Rivero 0, Melecio 0.
LETRAN (70) – Sollano 11, Nambatac 11, Balagasay 11, Balanza 10, Apreku 8, Quinto 8, Bernabe 5, Calvo 4, de la Pena 0, Gedaria 0, Luib 0, Pambid 0.
Period Scores: 16-18, 31-34, 60-49, 78-70.