La Salle unbeaten run now at eight as Archers survive huge scare from Falcons
La Salle import Ben Mbala comes up with another double-double. Freddie Dionisio

LA Salle survived perhaps its toughest game of the season, edging Adamson, 86-79, on Sunday in the 79th UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Green Archers picked up their eighth win in as many matches after overcoming a gritty challenge by the Falcons.

La Salle was ahead by only two points, 81-79, with 1:26 left in the fourth before Kib Montalbo hit a triple to give the Archers some breathing room.

Ben Mbala had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks.

La Salle also got major contributions from rookie Ricci Rivero, who had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

Aljun Melecio, another La Salle rookie, added 11 points, making 3 of 9 attempts from three-point range.

Jerrick Ahanmisi had 27 points, his triples putting the Falcons in the game. He sparked a 9-0 run to put the game close midway in the fourth. Robbie Manalang buried one of two free throws to cut La Salle’s lead to 81-79.

The Falcons, who trailed by as many as 17 points, fell to 4-4.

“Even ganun ’yung sitwayson, hindi kami aalis sa sistema namin. Gusto namin lagi ’yung ganung pace. ’Yung mga ganung klaseng laro, gusto namin ipasok ’yung pagiging spontaneous ng mga bata na as much as possible, we allow them to play basketball, make decisions, and go with the flow,” said La Salle coach Aldin Ayo.

La Salle continued its streak even as Jeron Teng sat out the second straight game.

The scores:

La Salle 86 — Mbala 18, R. Rivero 14, Melecio 11, Torres 9, Montalbo 8, Tratter 7, Perkins 5, Caracut 4, Baltazar 4, Paraiso 2, Dyke 2, Sargent 2, Go 0.

Adamson 79 — Ahanmisi 27, Sarr 13, Manganti 12, Espeleta 9, Bernardo 6, Manalang 3, Ochea 3, Mustre 3, Ng 3, Paranada 0, Camacho 0, Pasturan 0, Ballon 0, Tungcab 0, Barrera 0, Chua 0.

Quarterscores: 17-19; 44-33; 66-55; 86-79.

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