UAAP: La Salle weathers UE despite Pasaol's 49-point explosion

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2017 06:54 PM | Updated as of Oct 04 2017 07:57 PM

UAAP: La Salle weathers UE despite Pasaol's 49-point explosion 1
Ben Mbala throws down a dunk against UE. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) It was a night of career performances at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

The De La Salle University Green Archers leaned on terrific games from reigning MVP Ben Mbala and Abu Tratter to weather University of the East (UE), 106-100, and spoil a career-best effort from Alvin Pasaol in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament.

Pasaol dropped a stunning 49 points on 20-of-30 shooting -- the most in the UAAP in 15 years -- but it was not enough for the Red Warriors to topple the defending champions.

This was because Pasaol's effort was exceeded by the tandem of Mbala and Tratter, who both turned in career performances as well. Mbala reset his career-high for the third time this season, scoring 39 points on top of 15 rebounds and two blocks. The Cameroonian center could have scored more, but was yanked out of the game with 3:12 left and the game already well in hand.

Tratter, for his part, scored 24 points, also a career-high, in just 22 minutes while grabbing 10 rebounds of his own. He also put the game on ice with 5.4 seconds to go, converting a lay-up in transition while the Red Warriors were in the midst of a furious rally.

The Green Archers improved their record to 5-1 heading into Sunday's highly anticipated clash with archrivals Ateneo de Manila University, the only unbeaten team in the UAAP at 6-0.

Meanwhile, the Red Warriors dropped to 0-6 ahead of Saturday's showdown with University of Santo Tomas, where both teams will be gunning for their first victory.

"Well, for the first 36 minutes of the game, we played really good," said assistant coach Miggy Solitaria. "But in the last four minutes… siguro factor na rin na we were up by 25 points, so medyo nag-relax kami doon."

"Buti na lang, we still got the win," he added.

The Green Archers were well in control of the game in the first three quarters, leading 80-63 despite 33 points from Pasaol. Mbala was simply unstoppable inside the paint, matching Pasaol with 33 points as well, but he was getting help from Tratter and the La Salle guards.

La Salle led by as much as 25 points, 100-75, with five minutes to go off an Andrei Caracut three-pointer, but shockingly, the defending champions only scored six more points the rest of the way. Two of those came off an amazing alley-oop by Mbala from Gab Capacio that put La Salle ahead, 104-84, with 3:48 to go.

Mbala was subbed out of the game soon after, and the Red Warriors pounced on his absence to cut into the lead.

Pasaol broke Jeff Napa's 15-year scoring record, set for National University, when he drained a triple that brought him to 46 points with 2:29 left. He reached 49 points on a free throw with 55.6 seconds left, but missed out on a chance to reach an even 50 as he missed his second charity.

The Red Warriors were within six points, 98-104, with 31 seconds left off a split by Clark Derige, but La Salle iced the game, thanks to Tratter's lay-up.

Pasaol never got the chance to add to his total as he was subbed out to a great ovation with 3.1 seconds to go.

"He (Pasaol) was just in the zone, and he played very well. He was able to lead his team," said Mbala, who was seen bumping fists with Pasaol in the fourth quarter in a show of mutual respect.

"Hats off kay Alvin," said UE coach Derrick Pumaren. "First time that I've seen that from a local player. He really gave us a show tonight. I was really praying that he gets 50, but we'll take 49."

Philip Manalang had 14 points and nine assists for UE, while Mark Olayon contributed 13 points, six boards, and six dimes. The Red Warriors shot 52.17% from the field against the Green Archers, but committed 18 turnovers that La Salle translated to 24 easy points.

The scores:

DLSU 106 – Mbala 39, Tratter 24, Caracut 11, Rivero P 8, Rivero R 8, Montalbo 5, Santillan 4, Paraiso 3, Tero 2, Baltazar 2, Capacio 0, Go 0, Gonzales 0

UE 100 – Pasaol 49, Manalang 14, Olayon 13, Bartolome 6, Varilla 5, Derige 4, Acuno 4, Maloles 2, Abanto 2, Cullar 1, Conner 0

Quarter scores: 28-24, 54-42, 80-63, 106-100

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