PRINCE Rivero scored eight points including two critical baskets down the stretch as De La Salle survived a slew of turnovers to beat University of the East, 60-58, on Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rivero sank the go-ahead three-point play for La Salle with 2:13 to play before giving the Green Archers a 60-56 lead with another basket, again off a feed by Jeron Teng, at the final 44.1-second mark to hand the Red Warriors their first loss in the season.
The Green Archers managed to survive despite falling behind by 10 points at the end of the third quarter, committing 32 of their 36 turnovers in the first three periods, and losing big men Arnold Van Opstal and Jason Perkins on fouls down the stretch.
“We were lucky to pull this off after committing 36 turnovers,” La Salle coach Juno Sauler said in what should be the understatement of the season so far.
Teng had 18 points while Torres added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Green Archers, who improved to 2-2 win-loss but still lie in sixth place in the standings. Almond Vosotros had 12 points.
But the story in the end was Rivero, the former NCAA MVP who stepped up after the Green Archers lost Perkins and Van Opstal one after the other on fouls, scoring all of his points in the fourth quarter.
“We needed Prince because of Arnold and Jason fouling out,” said Sauler.
It was a disappointing loss for the Red Warriors (3-1), who led 46-36 at the end of the third quarter behind Derrick Pumaren's trademark trapping defense which threw La Salle off its rhythm all afternoon.
Roi Sumang had 16 points for the Red Warriors, but his drive to the basket with a chance to send the game into overtime missed the rim completely.
DLSU (60) – Teng 18, N. Torres 14, Vosotros 12, Rivero 8, Van Opstal 5, Perkins 2, Tratter 1, Montalbo 0, Andrada 0, Bolick 0.
UE (58) – Sumang 16, Varilla 8, Mammie 8, Olayon 7, Galanza 5, Jumao-as 4, Alberto 4, Arafat 3, Javier 2, De Leon 1.
Quarterscores: 12-14; 26-28; 36-46; 60-58.