LA SALLE cruised to its sixth straight win in the UAAP Season 80 after making short work of National University, 101-76, on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The win was the Green Archers’ 11th against two losses as they picked up steam just a week before their much awaited rematch against their rivals the unbeaten Ateneo Blue Eagles set on Sunday.
After declaring he’ll be skipping Cameroon’s World Cup qualifiers, Ben Mbala sure made it look like he really means business as he paced the Green Archers with 30 points and eight rebounds, lording over the equally towering NU frontline.
Mbala conspired with Ricci Rivero as they sparked the second quarter breakaway, opening a 47-35 lead by the interval before continuing their rampage in the final 20 minutes for the breezy win.
“Sabi ni coach we have to go hard sa practice kasi whatever we do in practice, madadala namin yan sa laro,” said skipper Kib Montalbo who spoke on behalf of head coach Aldin Ayo who passed on the post-game press conference for the eighth time for unknown reasons.
“We had a good week and hopefully ma-carry over namin against Ateneo,” he added.
Rivero also continued his impressive performance for the Green Archers as he finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Santi Santillan added nine as the trio of guards in Montalbo, Jollo Go and Andrei Caracut combined for 23 markers.
Also impressive was how the Green Archers managed to force the Bulldogs to 23 turnovers while limiting their errors to just nine.
JJ Alejandro committed eight of those 23 errors, but he still led the way for the Bulldogs with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Rookie Enzo Joson also had his best game of the season as he finished with 20 points and five assists.
The loss sent the Bulldogs on the brink of elimination as they dropped to 4-8 for the season.
La Salle 101 – Mbala 30, Rivero R 16, Santillan 9, Montalbo 8, Go 8, Caracut 7, Melecio 5, Tratter 5, Paraiso 5, Baltazar 4, Rivero P 2, Tero 2, Gonzales 0, Capacio 0.
NU 76 – Alejandro 20, Joson 20, Gaye 12, Lastimosa 5, Diputado 4, Rangel 4, Aquino 3, Mosqueda 2, Tibayan 2, Yu 2, Bartlett 2, Cauilan 0, Morido 0, Flores 0, Abatayo 0.
Quarterscores: 26-20; 47-35; 73-57; 101-76.