LA Salle gained at least a playoff for a Final Four berth with a 67-60 win over University of Santo Tomas on Saturday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal came up big in the end game for the Green Archers, who stayed in third place with a 9-3 win-loss slate. La Salle is also in the thick of the fight with league-leader Far Eastern University (10-2) and Ateneo (10-3) for the top two spots in the Final Four.
The loss sent the struggling Tigers to the brink of elimination with a 5-7 record. The Tigers will lose their chance of making their third consecutive finals appearance if National University (7-4) wins over University of Philippines on Sunday.
But the Green Archers had to earn the victory. Teng and Van Opstal scored 11 of La Salle’s final 13 points in the clutch to come away with the victory after trailing, 58-54, with three minutes left in the game.
“UST played very well on both ends of the floor. They made it hard for us. But we were able to pull this off because of our defense,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.
After a 60-58 lead, UST failed to protect its lead with several costly errors and misses, its final chance to win thegame ending with a turnover by Aljon Mariano with the Tigers down, 63-60.
Teng finished with 26 points while Van Opstal played his best game after suffering an injury midway in the season with 11 points.
Ed Daquioag had 19 points while Kent Lao and Karim Abdul had 14 and 13 points each for the Tigers.
DLSU (67) – Teng 26, Van Opstal 11, Montalbo 8, N. Torres 7, Sargent 7, Perkins 4, Vosotros 4, Rivero 0, Tratter 0, Bolick 0.
UST (60) – Daquioag 19, Lao 14, Abdul 13, Mariano 6, Lo 5, Gayosa 3, Sheriff 0, Subido 0, Basibas 0, Pe 0, Macasaet 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17, 30-34, 46-47, 67-60.