JERON Teng rose to the occasion for De La Salle, scoring on a turnaround jumper to clinch a 66-64 victory over five-time defending champion Ateneo on Sunday before a packed crowd of more than 16,000 mostly white-clad fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Teng repaid the faith of first-year La Salle coach Juno Sauler, who designed a one-on-one play for the celebrated sophomore after Teng's more illustrious Ateneo counterpart, Kiefer Ravena, scored on a twisting jumper inside the lane to knot the count, 64-all, with 14.5 seconds to go.
After kissing his fingers and pointing upwards, the son of former pro Alvin Teng drove to the basket then hit a turnaround shot over Chris Newsome with 1.9 seconds to play for the game-winner.
Teng's basket enabled the Green Archers to notch their fourth straight victory for a third-running 7-4 (win-loss) record and complete a sweep of their arch-rivals in the eliminations of UAAP Season 76.
Almond Vosotros was also key in La Salle's victory, scoring 16 of his 19 points in the second half to turn things around in a game the Blue Eagles dominated from the onset.
Teng scored just six points in the first 39 minutes while going 1-of-5 from the floor, but Sauler trusted him enough to give the 6-2 forward the ball in the game's most crucial play.
“We just had to get the ball to Jeron, told him to make a good decision. He knows where the other guys will be, he made a good read, wasn’t double-teamed and just made the basket,” said Sauler.
It was the first time De La Salle swept Ateneo in the elimination round since the Ren-Ren Ritualo days in 2001. The Green Archers have actually swept the Blue Eagles in 2005 but those wins were forfeited when they were punished for fielding an eligible player.
The Blue Eagles saw their five-game winning streak end as they fell to 6-5, joining University of Santo Tomas in fourth place.
Sauler acknowledged the importance of the win as they are now just half-a-game behind second placer Far Eastern University (8-4).
“With the standings of the other teams, it’s a close race especially going into the last thre games. Every game is important,” said Sauler.
The Green Archers launched a 9-0 run, with seven points coming from Vosotros, to take a 57-53 lead and swing the momentum to their side.
Teng nearly became the goat, splitting his free throws after a Ryan Buenafe triple, 64-62. Ravena then tied the match with a running shot with 14.5 ticks remaining.
DLSU (66) – Vosotros 19, Perkins 13, Revilla 11, Teng 8, N. Torres 6, Van Opstal 4, Montalbo 3, Salem 2, Tampus 0, Reyes 0, De La Paz 0, Bolick 0.
Ateneo (64) – Tiongson 14, Elorde 13, Ravena 12, Buenafe 9, Newsome 8, Pessumal 4, Golla 2, Erram 2, Tolentino 0, Enriquez 0, Capacio 0.
Quarterscores: 13-16; 31-33; 46-49; 66-64.