Archers shoot down Eagles
- Olmin Leyba () - July 25, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  La Salle’s animo spirit took the big fight out of their archrivals this time.

Playing with a lot of pride, the DLSU Green Archers erased a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to pull the rug from under defending champion Ateneo, 66-63, yesterday in the UAAP Season 73 seniors basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

Skipper Simon Atkins touched off a 15-3 bomb spiked by sophomore Samuel Marata’s two booming triples as the Green Archers overturned Ateneo’s 60-51 edge in the final 4:23 en route to posting their first win over the Eagles since 2007.

“It’s just all heart. The boys are nine points behind but they never gave up,” said DLSU coach Dindo Pumaren, whose wards forced the previously hot-shooting Eagles (8-of-8 in the initial stages of the payoff period) to miss their last seven shots, including two desperation triple tries by Justin Chua.

“We really wanted to win. It’s been two years already, it’s about time La Salle beats Ateneo again,” added Pumaren, referring to the last time the Archers prevailed over the Blue Eagles, 65-60, in the stepladder finals phase back in September 2007.

The Archers thus improved to 3-1 for solo second behind idle Far Eastern (3-0) while sending the Eagles down to joint fourth with National U at 2-2.

Marata, nephew of the late PBA hotshot Ric-ric Marata, had a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to emerge the top La Salle scorer with 14 along with Joshua Webb.

“I really felt good about those shots,” Marata said, referring to his back-to-back treys that gave La Salle a 65-63 spread entering the final 1:26. “I dedicate this game, as well as the entire season, to my late uncle, who really got me into basketball.”

Chua normed a game-high 16 for Ateneo, whose bid suffered when Kirk Long fouled out and Emman Monfort went out with cramps in the homestretch.

“We didn’t finish strong,” said Ateneo mentor Norman Black. “It was defense that did us in, not offense. We were not picking up their fastbreak play, we’re not contesting three-point shots, we’re not getting around their picks (in the endgame) and La Salle made the big shots down the stretch.”

 National U snapped a horrendous 14-game losing streak to University of the East spanning eight years with a 70-63 triumph in the first game.

The Bulldogs opened up an 18-point cushion, squandered it but held tough in the face of a searing UE endgame attack to post their first win over the Recto-based school since their 69-68 conquest on Sept. 7, 2002. NU hiked its current record to an even 2-2 while UE suffered its fourth straight loss.

“I know the potential of this team and I feel they could have won by double-digit (margin). But again, they still lack the killer’s instinct and allowed UE to threaten at endgame. Fortunately, they made the freethrows (and escaped with the win). We’d take this, though,” said NU coach Eric Gonzales.

After leading by 18 at 35-17 in the second canto and 59-50 at the 9:09 mark of the fourth, the Bulldogs failed to put the clamps on the Warriors, allowing Paul Lee and Erwin Duran to chop the NU lead to only four, 61-57.

The Bulldogs, however, benefited from their trips to the stripe with veteran Joseph Terso knocking down four, Mervin Baloran making 2-of-3 and Jewel Ponferrado scoring a split to offset the triples of Paul Zamar and Paul Lee in the last 3:11.

Rookie Glenn Khobuntin had a breakout game for NU, topscoring with 13 points, including 10 in the first half that powered the Jhocson-based squad to a 42-27 bubble, while Baloran finished with 11.

James Martinez and Lee led the scoring for UE with 18 markers apiece.

 Meanwhile, unbeaten Far Eastern U looks solidify its hold of the lead today when it tackles winless University of the Philippines today at the PhilSports.

Gametime is at 2 p.m. with the league-leading Tams seeking their fourth straight win against the 0-3 Fighting Maroons.

University of Sto. Tomas and Adamson, both 2-1, tangle in the last game at 4 p.m.

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