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Rookie powers Archers to win

Games Today
(MOA Arena)
2 p.m. Ateneo vs UP
4 p.m. UST vs Adamson

THE La Salle Green Archers found the right formula to get past the pressing game of the University of the East Warriors to come up with a 71-64 win yesterday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers banked on big scoring binges, first a 6-0 run at the end of the second period and another scoring burst in the third, to move out of range and post their third win in five games in the 76th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.

Rookie Andrei Caracut, a prized recruit from the San Beda Red Cubs, who played on three of their six straight title conquests in the NCAA, figured heavily in another scoring binge in the fourth.

Caracut banged in a game-high 16 points to match veteran Jeron Teng’s output as La Salle went on to move to second spot with the same 3-2 win-loss slate as the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

UE, who dropped to fourth at 2-4, drew 14 and 12 points from Nick Abanto and Ronnie de Leon, respectively. The Warriors refused to give up and kept the Greeen Archers on their toes with their pressing game.

“It’s a hard win. UE kept battling up to the last. Even if we got the lead into double digits, they found their way back. Great effort by my boys. They did not give up,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.

The Warriors, who forced La Salle to 16 (30 overall) turnovers in the first half, held a slim lead, 26-24, until the last 3:15 off Shannon Gagate’s layup.

A pair of charity shots from Julian Sargent, followed by a putback from Thomas Torres and two freebies from Caracut touched off La Salle’s first breakaway. The Green Archers went on finish the half with a 32-26 edge.

Joshua Torralba’s penetration, followed by Jason Perkin’s three-point play with 4:52 left in the third handed La Salle a 43-31 spread.

Caracut struck with 11 points in the fourth. He hit a pair of triples with 9:22 left to play to put La Salle ahead by 17, 58-41.

“First half, ang daming turnovers. Pero ‘di ako nawalan ng pag-asa. Nakuha ko pa rin ang laro ko,” said Caracut.

UE managed to close the gap in the last 5:16, 56-60. UE got points from  Abanto’s two charities, Edgar Charcos’ steal and drive off Thomas Torres and a triple from Paul Varilla.

But Caracut’s layup past Varilla and Edison Batiller allowed La Salle to stay on track, 64-56.

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