DEFENDING champion La Salle clobbered lowly University of Sto. Tomas, 115-86, on Saturday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off a stunning loss to University of the Philippines last week, the Green Archers played at a high level on both ends from start to finish to secure their fourth victory in five games.
UST is now on its worst start in the Final Four era as it remained winless in six games.
Ben Mbala missed out on a double-double for the first time since the start of last season, but put on a sizzling outing nonetheless with 29 points, nine rebounds, two steals, two assists and three blocks.
Andrei Caracut scored 14, Leonard Santillan added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists while Prince Rivero had 13 markers.
"We played unselfish basketball the whole game," said La Salle assistant coach Miggy Solitaria. "Sobran aggressive namin and we pushed the pace, which is what we want."
Wendell De Guzman paced UST with 18 points, while Steve Akomo put up 15 markers and 13 rebounds.
Jordan Sta. Ana chipped in 14 markers.
UST got to as close as 11 points in the third period before the Archers regained steam.
Off a timeout, La Salle scored seven straight points capped by Ben Mbala's jumper to give the Archers a 20-point spread, 76-56.
The lead ballooned to as many as 31 points on Ricci Rivero's basket in the waning seconds, 115-84.
La Salle 115 – Mbala 29, Caracut 14, Santillan 13, Rivero Prince 11, Montalbo 8, Tratter 8, Capacio 7, Golo 7, Rivero Ricci 7, Tero 5, Baltazar 4, Paraiso 2, Gonzales 0.
UST 86 – De Guzman 18, Akomo 15, Sta. Ana 14, Lee 8, Faundo 8, Macasaet 8, Romero 4 , Kwawukumey 4, Caunan 2, Huang 2, Escalambre 2, Arana 1, Lorenzana 0, Garcia 0, Soriano 0.
Quarterscores: 30-21; 60-42; 85-63; 115-86.