By Kevin Patrick V. Mariano
MANILA (PNA) — When the smoke cleared, the De La Salle Green Archers became the UAAP Season 76 champions after defeating the valiant University Of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 71-69, in their Game 3 showdown on Saturday at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
La Salle’s Jeron Teng erupted for 25 points, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists to become the Finals MVP.
The Green Archers came from behind in the third quarter after launching an incredible 14-4 assault to put themselves within striking distance, 48-47, at the end of the third period.
In the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, Teng scored four straight points that knotted the score at 61 apiece.
Teng and Mariano exchanged baskets that deadlocked the score at 65. With two seconds left in the game, Mariano missed his potential game winning attempt that forced the overtime.
Almond Vosotross started the overtime with a jumper to give DLSU a two point lead, 67-65.
Kevin Ferrer knotted the score at 67 all after making two charities that was followed by a Jeric Teng turnaround corner jumper to give UST a 69-67 upperhand.
In the next play, Jeron Teng split his charities to put La Salle a point shy at 69-68, with a minute remaining in the game.
In UST’s next possession, however, Aljon Mariano committed a costly turnover after throwing an ill advised pass to Kevin Ferrer that opened the door for the Green Archers.
Vosotross seized the opportunity with a clutch jumper that gave the Archers a one point cushion, 70-69.
UST failed to convert in their next play that forced them to intentionally foul L.A Revilla to stop the clock. Revilla split his two charities for a two-point lead, 71-69.
Karim Abdul misfired his game tying attempt as time expired, with fans and supporters celebrating the reign of DLSU as the new UAAP champions.
La Salle shot 21-of-49 (43 percent) from the field while UST finished with 21-of-61 (34 percent).
The Green Archers also dominated the Growling Tigers in fastbreak points, 8-4, and out-rebounded UST, 52-49.
Karim Abdul led the Tigers after finishing with 26 points and eight rebounds.
Finals MVP Jeron Teng stated after the game that their perseverance paid off handsomely.
“UST had a big lead but we just didn’t give up and we don’t want to let the De La Salle community and Boss Nanding down,” he said.