(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – UP vs FEU
4 p.m. – NU vs UST
The ruthless La Salle Green Archers perhaps gave Franz Pumaren a reminder of the glorious past and what could be again.
With their suffocating defense in full effect for the nth time and a collection of players making their contributions count, the Green Archers spoiled Pumaren’s first game against his former team and ripped the Adamson Falcons, 91-75, to stay unbeaten in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A second quarter surge turned a tight battle into a one-sided beatdown that enabled La Salle to extended its perfect slate to five games at the expense of Pumaren, who guided the Green Archers to five championships in the late 90’s and in the 2000’s.
Pumaren’s previous success at Taft may become a reality this season for La Salle and first year coach Aldin Ayo, whose team has been nothing but dominant after three weeks of the season.
Highly-touted Cameroonian import Ben Mbala was impressive as usual, making all seven field goals in the first half before finishing with 21 points while grabbing 16 rebounds.
But the man known as “Big Ben” wasn’t alone. Rookie guard Aljun Melecio was the latest role player to make a name for himself in La Salle’s early season success as he contributed 13 points in only 11 minutes.
Guard Kib Montalbo, back after nursing an ACL injury, was a menace on both ends with 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
The Falcons were sent crashing back to earth after absorbing their worst loss of the season.
Adamson entered the game in high spirits following big wins over Ateneo and National University. The Falcons were behind 26-24 in the second quarter before the Green Archers unleashed a decisive 23-7 advantage to build a 49-31 lead with less than a minute in the second quarter.
Pumaren and the Falcons dropped to 3-2, but could end up tied for second with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who are favored to beat the winless University of the East Red Warriors in their game being played at presstime.
Meanwhile, NU and defending champion Far Eastern University eye their third win in five matches when they play separate rivals today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bulldogs battle the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the main game at 4 p.m. after the Tamaraws square off with the University of the Philippines Maroons in the 2 p.m. curtain raiser.
LA SALLE 91 – Mbala 21, Teng 15, Melecio 13, Montalbo 12, Torres 11, Tratter 7, Sargent 6, Rivero R. 2, Go 2, Caracut 0.
ADAMSON 75 – Ahanmisi 22, Manalang 15, Sarr 14, Pasturan 9, Manganti 6, Tungcab 5, Espeleta 2, Mustre 1, Ochea 0, Bernardo 0, Camacho 0, Chua 0, Ng 0.
Quarters: 22-17; 49-34; 66-52; 91-75.