JASON Perkins hit timely shots down the stretch as De La Salle beat National University, 57-55, on Wednesday for its first game of the season in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Returning to the same arena where they captured last year’s crown, the Green Archers got back to its winning ways against the Bulldogs after losing their first two games of the season in disappointing fashion.
After failing to close out games against Far Eastern University and Ateneo, La Salle finally held steady in the endgame as Perkins made back-to-back baskets off offensive rebounds, the final one with the shotclock winding down, 57-53, with 6.7 seconds left in the game.
“We can’t celebrate,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler. “It’s still too early. We still have to find ways to execute things especially because of the injury of Thomas Torres, we are still trying to find out what to do.”
Perkins finished with 14 points while Norbert Torres added 13 including a three-point swing that gave the Green Archers a two-point lead. Perkins then hit two free throws for a 53-49 cushion to start his heroics.
Alfred Aroga had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs, who lost their first game after a 2-0 start.
“I think we stepped up defensively. In the fourth against Ateneo and FEU, we were giving up maybe close to 30 points. Now, we only gave up 12,” said Sauler.
La Salle (57) – Perkins 14, N. Torres 13, Teng 9, Vosotros 7, Van Opstal 7, Andrada 3, Montalbo 2, Rivero 2, Bolick 0.
NU (55) – Aroga 12, Rosario 10, Khobuntin 9, Alolino 9, Javelona 5, Diputado 4, Alejandro 3, Neypes 2, Perez 1, Betayene 0, Atangan 0, Salim 0, Celda 0.
Quarterscores: 12-16; 35-29; 45-43; 57-55.