MANILA -- University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) weakness played right into the strength of De La Salle University.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the defending champions were also more motivated than usual coming off their first taste of defeat in the UAAP 80 men’s basketball tournament.
Wasting no time in re-imposing their winning form, the Green Archers dominated the Tigers from opening tip to final buzzer for a 29-point blowout, 115-86, on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
A week removed from being upset by the University of the Philippines, “mayhem” was back in full effect in this one.
Reigning and defending MVP Ben Mbala and Santi Santillan fueled La Salle’s strong start that granted them a 17-5 lead.
The rest of the team only joined in on the fun from there and by halftime, they were comfortably ahead, 60-42. Of that output, 20 points were quickly converted after forcing 16 turnovers.
Without a doubt, “mayhem” proved too be too much for UST which, coming into the contest, was already the worst team in the league at taking care of the ball.
Not even the absence of starting point guard Aljun Melecio could slow down the Green Archers as Andrei Caracut and Kib Montalbo held down the fort while seldom-used Gabe Capacio and Ramil Tero also contributed.
Of course, Mbala remained in the middle of it all, putting his squad on his shoulder and onto solo second in the standings now at 4-1.
With the mighty rebound, the defending champions are back on a confidence high ahead of a matchup with University of the East and a rivalry game with Ateneo de Manila University.
Along with that, they also piled onto the misery of the Tigers who remain winless in six games.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.