Rookie Jeron Teng buried a game-tying three-pointer to send the game into overtime as La Salle upended Ateneo, 62-59, on Saturday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Cup at the jampacked Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Green Archers secured their fifth win in five outings to clinch third spot in Group A. They will face the San Sebastian Stags, the second-ranked team in Group B, in the quarterfinals.
Teng had a team-high 17 points but it was his three-pointer with 5.6 seconds left in regulation that allowed La Salle to snatch the victory in overtime after seeing an 11-point third-quarter lead slip away in the homestretch.
Down, 50-53, the Green Archers turned to Teng who faked off Kiefer Ravena before hitting the game-tying three-pointer. Ravena tried to answer back over Teng but shot an airball in the final play of regulation.
La Salle also got solid contributions from LA Revilla and Norbert Torres, who stepped up in overtime against an Ateneo team without injured center Greg Slaughter, who was down with an ankle sprain.
“I’m very happy with the heart that the boys showed,” said La Salle coach Gee Abanilla. “They didn’t give up. We were down by three but they never gave up. They showed character and if we could bring that out (in the UAAP), it could be a very positive effect for the team.”
Students and alumni who packed the venue to witness the match-up between the chief rivals saw a great finish which made up for the atrocious shooting both teams displayed from the field.
La Salle only shot 23-for-73 from the field while Ateneo only converted 21 of their 68 shots. The Green Archers shot 43 percent (13-for-30) from the foul line as compared to Ateneo, which hit 67 percent (14-for-21).
A three-pointer by Teng gave the Green Archers a 31-20 lead to start the third but the Blue Eagles came roaring back thanks to Ryan Buenafe and Ravena, who made two free throws with 18.8 seconds in regulation to give Ateneo a 53-50 lead.
Revilla, who finished the game with 16 points, started the extra period with a three while Torres, who made up for his four-for-15 field goal shooting with 13 points and 19 rebounds, split his free throws for a 59-54 lead.
Buenafe was able to cut the deficit to two points with a triple but Ateneo missed several opportunities to tie the game.