LA Salle built a huge lead early and survived Lyceum’s fiery fourth quarter rally for an 87-78 win on Thursday to preserve its unbeaten slate in the 2016 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Jeron Teng led the way with 20 points, while Cameroonian reinforcement Ben Mbala added 15 markers and 11 rebounds as the Archers scored their sixth win.
The Archers took charge early, taking a 26-11 first-quarter lead and extending it to 24 points, 70-46, entering the final period.
That proved to be enough cushion as the Pirates rallied but could get no closer than eight, 78-84, with 43 seconds left to play.
Sophomore Archers guard Andrei Caracut added nine points, while rookie Aljun Melecio chipped in eight.
“Obviously it’s not the endgame that we wanted but I really have to play them,” said La Salle coach Aldin Ayo, who did not field back Teng and Mbala when Lyceum was inching closer.
“Because after this game lalabas na parang pocket tournament na eh after our Sunday’s game we only have one day rest then the quarters, the semis and hopefully the finals,” he added.
“Kailangan ko talaga habaan ang rotation ko para ma-preserve ’yung starters ko although the 15 of them can really play well siguro ’yung kumpyansa lang na syempre walang playing time and lalaro ng mahaba so I want them to get used to play,” he continued.
Cameroonian import Harry Nzeusseu had with 21 points and 17 rebounds for Lyceum, which outscored La Salle in the fourth quarter, 32-17.
“Since this is a preseason game, I want all of my players to play well with the system that we have that is very demanding puro mahaba ’yung rotation kasi baka mapagod or sana wala naman mangyaring injuries, I just want everybody to be ready,” said Ayo.
The La Salle rookie coach stressed that he did not feel the need to field back his starters, especially Teng and Mbala.
“No, I trust my second and third group, they’ll finish it off, I’m confident, syempre you want to end the game on a good note para next game maganda ang kumpyansa ng mga bata,” he said.
Edcor Marata scored 13 points and Dexter Zamora had 12 markers for the Pirates, who absorbed their sixth loss in seven games.
La Salle 87 – Teng 20, Mbala 15, Caracut 9, Melecio 8, Tratter 7, Montalbo 6, Rivero R 6, Gob 6, Torres 3, Go 2, Paraiso 0
Lyceum 78 – Nzeusseu 21, Marata 13, Zamora 12, Malabanan 9, Caduyac 6, Ayaay 5, Bulawan 4, Baltazar 3, Magbuhos 3, Alanes 2, Soliman 0, Alban 0, Serafica 0
Quarterscores: 26-11; 56-29; 70-46; 87-78