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Archers storm back in 4th quarter, oust Falcons

De La Salle's reigning MVP Ben Mbala during the Archers-Falcons tussle, Saturday night at the Big Dome. | Contributed Photo

MANILA, Philippines — De La Salle University went on a 14-0 run in the final frame to pull the rug on Adamson University, 82-75, and formalize their return to the UAAP men’s basketball finals Saturday night at the Big Dome.

A combined effort by Prince Rivero, Jollo go Abu Tratter, Ben Mbala led by Aljun Melecio erased a prolific scoring effort by the Falcons that equated to 15 points. Halfway through the fourth period, the Archers were back on top.

La Salle then held on and slowly pulled away en route to the win.

"All game long, we found it very hard to break their camouflage. They're denying the paint field goals, they're doubling Ben (Mbala), they're allowing us to take the 3-point shot,” Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo said. 

"During the second quarter, some of our small men were hesitant to take the threes. I told them at halftime that they have to be confident in taking those shots,” he added.

La Salle, though, only drained two of their 21 attempts from the 3-point line. Adamson, on the other hand, had 11 conversions from their 36 tries.

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If there’s anywhere the game was won, it was through the foul shots. The Green Archers outscored the Falcons from the charity stripe, sinking 26 of their 39 attempts. The Taft-based team was able to drill two of their five looks from the charity stripe.

“We just focused on the game plan, especially on defense,” Ayo noted. “In the first round, there were lots of distractions —simple schemes on defense that sometimes we cannot execute. We tend to gamble a lot.”

"But they became different come the second round,” the mentor said of his wards. “They just surrendered to the system and overcome the distractions.”

The reigning titleholders will be taking on the winner of the Ateneo de Manila - Far Eastern U series, which begins on Sunday also at the Big Dome.

READ: Maverick Ahanmisi, Pumaren blast officiating in Adamson's semis loss to La Salle


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