DE La Salle laid claim to the distinction as the best collegiate basketball team in the country as it turned back Southwestern University, 70-61, on Tuesday for a sweep of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals at The Arena in San Juan.
Just two months after ruling the UAAP, the Green Archers captured another coveted crown as they overcame a worthy challenge from the Cebu-based Cobras.
“It’s a great year for us,” Archers coach Juno Sauler said. “Hopefully these learnings and experience will carry us through next year.”
“We still have to learn more,” added the rookie mentor. “Things happened today that we could’ve avoided. Still shows some lack of maturity from our players.”
It was understandable as the Archers, like in the 64-54 Game One victory the day before, squandered a sizeable cushion in the endgame and had to survive a late fightback to capture their second PCCL crown after winning it in 2008.
It was the first time a UAAP champion won the PCCL crown in the same year since 2009 when Ateneo defeated Far Eastern University.
Jeron Teng delivered as usual, scattering 16 points, five assists, and four assists to be adjudged as the Finals MVP, but it was Jason Perkins and Almond Vosotros who punched in the timeliest baskets down the stretch that ensured the victory.
Vosotros, who sat out the whole second half of Game One due to an ankle sprain, registered 15 points and three assists, while Perkins churned in a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards in just 17 minutes.
The Archers seemed poised for a runaway victory after Robert Bollick scored on a layup that gave his team its biggest lead at 68-51 with two minutes and 46 seconds remaining.
But the Cobras scored 10 unanswered points off a three-point play and short stab by Lanrdy Sanjo, a Mark Tallo triple, and Monbert Arong's layup to cut the deficit to single digits with 40.5 seconds to go.
Sanjo, who was a foul away from fouling out the whole fourth quarter, finished with 16 points, 13 boards, two assists, and one steal as he represented SWU in the mythical team.
De La Salle (70) – Teng 16, Vosotros 15, Perkins 14, Reyes 7, Bollick 5, Van Opstal 4, N. Torres 4, T. Torres 3, Tampus 2, Montalbo 0, Salem 0
SWU (61) – Sanjo 16, Tallo 15, Goloran 12, Arong 10, Mohammed 3, Holper 3, Siewe 2, Bautista 0, Panerio 0, Ortega 0, Bregondo 0
Quarterscores: 19-13, 34-22, 53-42, 70-61