De La Salle had to fend off University of the East, 77-71, in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Green Archers improved to 4-2 and remained in the fourth spot of Group A behind Lyceum (5-2), which sits at third.
The two teams traded blows up until the 1:25 mark when Aljun Melecio sank a booming triple to give La Salle a 74-71 lead.
Then the Green Archers capitalized on Vince Magbuhos’ point-blank miss with Ricci Rivero connecting with big man Justine Baltazar at the 51-second mark for a 76-71 lead.
Despite the win, La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo lamented his team’s performance, saying he wasn’t able to get the usual numbers from his players.
“We did not play our game, there were players who also did not play their game,” said Ayo. “This tested the depth of our bench, there were players who did not play their game but there were players who stepped up.”
Ben Mbala, a constant double-double machine for La Salle, managed just nine points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
Filling Mbala’s void was the lanky Baltazar who led the Green Archers with 15 points while Santi Santillan had a 12-point and 14-rebound double-double.
Alvin Pasaol had a game-high 30 points, on 12-of-23 shooting, with nine rebounds to lead the 2-5 Red Warriors.
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