DE La Salle rediscovered its old, championship form in a game it cannot afford to lose, trouncing second seed Far Eastern University 94-73, to forge a sudden death in their UAAP Final Four match on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Star forward Jeron Teng bounced back from a subpar performance, peppering the Tamaraws with 18 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the defending champions Green Archers to the convincing win.
The 6-3 Teng, held down to just eight points on 2-of-9 field goal shooting in La Salle’s 60-65 semifinal playoff last week, played with a lot of fire, driving strong to the paint and converting his long-range jumpers with confidence.
The victory enabled the Green Archers the end a run of three losses to the Tamaraws this season and forged a make-or-break match between the two teams on Wednesday for a place in the finals.
“We’re just grateful for opportunity to play. I just told them to make the most out of the situation we have, whether we win or lose, just play your best,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.
The Green Archers’ frontline completely overwhelmed Tamaraws with their size after ending the game with a huge 54-41 rebounding advantage.
Norbert Torres backed up Teng with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Almond Vosotros added 17, spiked by three three-pointers.
Jason Perkins added eight points and 12 rebounds, while Fil-German Arnold Van Opstal had 10 rebounds.
Mark Belo led FEU with a career-high 32 points, but the sweet-shooting forward failed to get the much-needed support from Mike Tolomia.
The high-flying Tolomia finished with a quiet seven points on a frigid 2-of-12 field goal shooting. Tolomia averaged 21 points during FEU’s first three games against La Salle this season.
Quarterscores: 24-14, 34-27, 63-47, 94-73