SAN JUAN City – De La Salle University did what it had to do, beat Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the first step of its uphill climb into the 11th FilOil Flying V Premier Cup quarterfinals, 93-77, in the penultimate game Friday (June 16) at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The defending champions now pray that San Beda College defeat Ateneo de Manila University in the remaining game so they may get the fourth and final seeding in Group A.
Benoit Mbala mocked all defenders thrown at him as he exploded for an astounding 45 points on top of 17 rebounds and three blocks. Mbala actually struck hard early on and notched a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds by halftime and the Green Archers comfortably ahead, 45-32.
“Everything we are doing right now is preparation for the UAAP,” said Coach Aldin Ayo. “I like our 20 assists, our ball movement was good so we kept on looking for the high percentage shot and that meant dumping the ball to Ben.”
Ricci Rivero was the next highest scorer with 17 points and five rebounds in a 40-minute no-relief job. “We wanted to test Ricci’s physical fitness and endurance,” explained Coach Ayo.
Jerrick Balanza paced the Knights with 22 points followed by Bong Quinto with 14 points and nine rebounds. Letran’s only victory in the tournament came at the expense of University of Santo Tomas, 89-81, last May 31.
For the meantime, Coach Ayo and the rest of the Green Archers would rather go home and not watch the Ateneo-San Beda tussle. They did their part but their destiny is not fully in their hands.
How They Scored:
DE LA SALLE (93) – Mbala 45, R. Rivero 17, Melecio 8, Santillan 8, Baltazar 5, Tratter 4, Capacio 3, Gonzales 2, Caracut 1, Go 0, Tero 0.
LETRAN (77) – Balanza 22, Calvo 14, Quinto 14, Ambohot 8, Vacaro 6, Caralipio 4, Taladua 3, Balagasay 3, Pascual 2, Gedaria 1, Pamulaklakin 0, Bernabe 0, de Villa 0, Mandreza 0.
Period Scores: 20-16, 45-32, 72-54, 93-77.