Archers rally to stun Eagles

KIEFER Ravena, hero of so many close games, turned out to be only human as he missed a triple attempt, which could have tied the game, allowing the La Salle Green Archers to escape with an 80-76 victory over the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament in front of close to 18,000 screaming fans at the SM Mall of Asia Arena Sunday.

La Salle spitfire Thomas Torres served as catalyst as the Green Archers overcame a 15-point deficit in the third period to cut the gap and turned a looming rout into a nip-and-tuck game.

Ateneo big man Chibuizeh Ikeh scored from underneath the goal to push Ateneo to a two-point lead, 76-74, with 1:27 to go in the game.

La Salle’s Andrei Caracut drives to the basket but loses the ball in front of Ateneo’s Alfonzo Gotladera in a UAAP game won by the Archers, 80-76. EY ACASIO

La Salle’s Josh Torralba then received a pass from Jason Perkins and drilled an open triple from the left corner baseline as La Salle grabbed back the lead, 77-76 with 30 seconds left to play.

Ravena missed a jumper at the other end. Jeron Teng then knocked down a pair of free throws to push La Salle to a three-point advantage, 79-76, with 10 seconds left to play.

The stage was set for Ravena to perform his usual late-game heroics for the Blue Eagles. But it was not to be as Ravena missed a contested three-point attempt to allow the Green Archers to post the scrambling victory.

Torralba finalized the count after splitting his charities.

With the victory, the La Salle Green Archers (4 wins, 3 losses) tied the Ateneo Blue Eagles (4-3) at third place.

Leading the standings are the FEU Tamaraws (5-1) and the UST Growling Tigers (5-1). The other teams include the NU Bulldogs (3-3), the UE Red Warriors (2-4), the UP Fighting Maroons (2-5) and the Adamson University Soaring Falcons (1-6).

Meanwhile, the Adamson Falcons drew 26 career-high points from Jerome Garcia, who led the San Marcelino-based dribblers to a 73-68 victory over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.

This ended Adamson’s losing skid as the  second-year guard played his finest game for the Falcons, who got their first victory after six straight losses.

This allowed the Falcons to finish their campaign in the first round of the eliminations on a positive note.

The Fighting Maroons fell to their fifth straight defeat following a 2-0 start in  the season.

Garcia, a returnee, who was not part of last year’s lineup, scored 19 points in the first half which included 13 in the second period. His effort  gave the Falcons a 47-28 spread at halftime.

“It’s about time. I told them to finish the first round with a win. They did it,” said Adamson rookie coach Mike Fermin.

Joseph Nalos had 15 points, while rookie JD Tungcab had 13 points for the Falcons, who also got 15 rebounds from Cameroonian import Papi Sarr.

Paul Desiderio had 26 points for UP. He had 11 points in the fourth quarter and spearheaded a UP run that tied the game at 59.

Tungcab hit a lay-up with 1:55 left in the fourth to give Adamson a 70-66 edge.

The Maroons lost big man Jerson Prado with 3:04 remaining in the second quarter and with Adamson up 35-23.

Prado tallied four points and nine boards in the game. He was in a rebound against against Sarr when he landed awkwardly on his right knee.

He had to be taken out on a stretcher and sent to the hospital.

La Salle trailed by 10 points, 36-46, at the half but came out of the halftime huddle breathing fire. They detonated a 13-2 bomb capped by a Jayson Perkins triple to grab the lead, 49-48, :08 to go in the third period.

Perkins drilled a second triple in the period from the same spot to push La Salle to a four-point advantage, 54-50 with 4:40 to go in the third.

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