MANILA, Philippines – Defending UAAP champions De La Salle Green Archers started their pre-season campaign on a bright note after holding off the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 69-62, in their first game of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup Saturday at the San Juan Arena.
Center Arnold Van Opstal came up with a key putback basket, then blocked a lay-up by UE’s star guard Roi Sumang in the final minute to help La Salle secure the victory.
Van Opstal finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Thomas Torres added 12 points. Almond Vosotros had 10, and his missed shot with 33 seconds to go led to Van Opstal’s putback.
UE had kept in step with La Salle in the first three quarters, but the Green Archers stepped up defensively in the final frame as they allowed the Red Warriors to score only nine points, while coming up with 20 points of their own.
Sumang fired 15 points to lead the Red Warriors, while Cameroonian player Moustapha Arafat marked his debut with a 12-point, eight-rebound, and four-block performance.
La Salle coach Juno Sauler later told reporters that the game only allowed them to gauge “where we are in terms of the months we’ve prepared, to see what we need to fix especially with two months to go before the UAAP starts.”
Meanwhile, the loss ruined the UE coaching debut of Derrick Pumaren, who took over the Red Warriors after former coach Boycie Zamar got the boot in the offseason.
In the first game of the afternoon, defending NCAA champions San Beda Red Lions outlasted rivals Letran Knights in double-overtime, 99-96.
Ola Adeogun finished with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, including the go-ahead putback in the second overtime.
Point guard Baser Amer had a game-high 28 points while Art dela Cruz also had a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds.