THOMAS Torres scored 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from three-point range as De La Salle avoided another meltdown to beat Far Eastern University, 94-89, on Wednesday and reach the semifinals of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Arnold Van Opstal had 16 points, including four in the endgame when the Green Archers - the reigning UAAP champions - regained the lead after letting a 12-point fourth-quarter advantage disappear.
That allowed the Archers to avoid another breakdown similar to the 95-98 loss to Perpetual Help on Saturday, when they blew a 20-point lead and only clinched a playoff berth via the quotient system.
Incidentally, La Salle and FEU will face off again on opening day of the UAAP Season 77 on July 12 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“FEU was very tough and they gave us a good fight especially in the end,” said DLSU coach Juno Sauler. “That is something that we have to be wary about in the UAAP. We play them in the first game and we know how strong they are.”
The Green Archers will face Southwestern University in the semifinals on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
La Salle held an 83-71 lead when FEU went on a 15-3 run capped by a Mike Tolomia three-pointer that gave the Tamaraws an 87-86 lead with 1:17 remaining in the game.
Van Opstal, however, hit a short stab off a La Salle offensive rebound with 50.4 seconds and, after Tolomia miss, added two free throws, 90-87, with 27.6 seconds to go.
“The coaches said when they double in the post, the perimeter guys will be open so they told us to keep on shooting the threes,” said Torres, who scored all of his 18 points in the second half from beyond the three-point line.
Tolomia had 22 points on 3-of-7 shooting from behind-the-arc while Mark Belo added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Tamaraws, who lost for the first time in the Filoil preseason tournament after going 6-0 in the preliminaries.
DLSU (94) – T. Torres 23, Van Opstal 16, Teng 13, Perkins 13, Vosotros 10, Rivero 6, N. Torres 4, Andrada 4, Sargent 3, Montalbo 2, Salem 0.
FEU (89) – Tolomia 22, Belo 18, Hargrove 15, Ru. Escoto 10, Pogoy 7, Inigo 4, Cruz 3, Tamsi 2, Ri. Escoto 2, David 2, Delfinado 0, Dennison 0, Ugsang 0.
Quarterscores: 16-15; 49-43; 78-69; 94-89.