La Salle asserts dominance in first preseason showdown with arch-rival Ateneo
Ricci Rivero of La Salle and Ateneo's Thirdy Ravena battle for ball possession. Dante Peralta

LA Salle defeated Ateneo, 80-71, on Monday in the Milcu Sports Basketball Summer Showcase at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Ben Mbala had 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Ricci Rivero had 22 points for the Green Archers, who came back from nine points down in the fourth quarter to win the first meeting between the UAAP rivals since the Season 79 finals won by La Salle.

Andrei Caracut scored 15 points and was pivotal in an 8-0 run that pulled La Salle within a point, 64-65. The Green Archers then closed the game on a 10-0 blast including a slam by Mbala that put the game away, 76-71.

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo said the game against their archrivals was a learning experience ahead of the team's title defense in the UAAP.

“Marami kaming natutunan,” Ayo said. “Nakita namin kung paano nila binasag ‘yung trap namin. Marami kaming napulot sa larong ‘to.”

Thirdy Ravena and Mike Nieto had 17 points each for the Blue Eagles, who blew a 63-54 lead early in the fourth period.

The scores:

DLSU (80) — Mbala 22, Ri. Rivero 22, Caracut 15, Montalbo 6, Santillan 5, Baltazar 4, Tratter 4, P. Rivero 2, Gonzales 0, Melecio 0, Go 0.

ADMU (71) — Ravena 17, Mi. Nieto 17, Asistio 9, Tio 8, Go 6, Ikeh 4, Ma. Nieto 4, Navarro 2, Almond 2, Ramos 2, Mamuyac 0, Tolentino 0, Reyes 0, Porter 0.

Quarterscores: 14-16, 36-32, 54-57, 80-71.

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