DEFENDING champion La Salle opened a two-game buffer over Adamson in the race for the no. 2 seed in the playoffs with an 80-74 victory over the Falcons in UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
The Green Archers raised their record to 6-4, but not after a getting a big scare from the gallant Falcons.
Andrei Caracut hit a go-ahead trey and Santi Santillan scored an undergoal stab to give La Salle a 76-72 advantage, with 36.3 seconds remaining.
Adamson dropped at 6-4.
After leading by as many as 10 points in the first half, the Falcons lost their steam, their offense going in tatters and found themselves trailing 59-67 at the 6:41 mark.
Never giving up, Adamson dropped three straight triples in a 15-4 run to grab the lead for the last time at 72-71, with 2:19 remaining.
Ricci Rivero produced 17 points, while Santillan (16 points, 10 rebounds) and reigning MVP Ben Mbala (15 points, 17 rebounds) delivered double-double numbers for the Archers.
“This game was a test of character for all of us. This is a good thing kasi it will help us as a team,” said Rivero, who has been consistent since late in the first round.
Jerrick Ahanmisi, who spearheaded the Falcons fightback, had 17 points while Papi Sarr also scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
In women’s play, Trixie Antiquera led five players in twin digits with 20 points as titleholder NU drubbed Adamson, 109-59, to stretch its perfect run to nine games, while FEU drew 19 points from Valerie Mamaril in a 84-48 rout of UP to raise its record at 4-6.
DLSU (80) – Rivero R. 17, Santillan 16, Mbala 15, Montalbo 10, Rivero P. 7, Melecio 5, Tratter 5, Caracut 3, Baltazar 2, Go 0.
AdU (74) – Ahanmisi 17, Sarr 17, Espeleta 12, Manalang 11, Hill 8, Lojera 3, Manganti 2, Ochea 2, Bernardo 2, Pingoy 0, Zaldivar 0, Mustre 0, Chua 0, Frias 0.
Quarterscores: 13-17, 35-35, 58-54, 80-74