LA Revilla, the most senior member of the Green Archers, was a rookie when they toppled the FEU Tamaraws 62-59 in a playoff for the second seed in the Final Four in 2008. He only scored a point after logging in a few minutes and watched as teammates JV Casio, Rico Maierhofer, and Pee-jay Barua starred in that victory that propelled them to within a win of the Finals.
Five years later and facing the same opponent with the same twice-to-beat edge at stake, Revilla made sure that his imprint in this match would be more memorable than a solitary point, in his last year of donning the Green and White.
With fifty-five seconds left on the game clock and the Tamaraws once more engineering another comeback to come to within five points, Jeron Teng stood with the leather at the top of the key and found a wide open Revilla on the left corner. Revilla received the ball and hoisted a triple as a hapless Anthony Hargrove rushed from the paint to try to defend him. The ball swished through the net, the La Salle lead was restored to eight, and Tams mentor Nash Racela sued for time.
Revilla smiled as he rushed back from the court to the team’s bench, showered by high-fives and cheers by his teammates and the Lasallian faithful.
Leading the match since Revilla’s first triple gave them a 5-2 in the opening minutes, the Green Archers once more witnessed another furious rally by the FEU Tamaraws, but were able to weather the fightback with timely baskets from Revilla and charities from Jason Perkins and Almond Vosotros to finally put them away, 74-69, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The win formally gives La Salle a twice-to-beat advantage over the Tamaraws in their Final Four series which will start this Wednesday, September 25, while also bringing them to the cusp of the Finals for the first time since 2008.
Revilla finished with a season-high 20 points including six triples, while adding three boards, and three assists, while also playing good defense on tournament MVP Terrence Romeo during the first half, when he was held to three points on a 1-for-9 shooting clip. Revilla shot 6-for-11 from deep, while outscoring the entire FEU team from three-point territory, as the league’s best three point-shooting team only managed a 5-for-34 showing from beyond the arc.
Jason Perkins added 13 points and seven boards, while Jeron Teng got his bearing during the second half after only scoring a basket during the first half, as he wound up with a double-double of 13 points, ten boards, five assists, and two steals.
A split at the line by team captain Norbert Torres allowed the Archers to tie their largest lead of the match, 66-51, with 7:43 remaining in the fourth. But FEU quickly unloaded an 8-0 barrage to trim the lead to seven, 66-59, before a putback by Parkins restored a nine-point spread for La Salle. Back-to-back baskets by RR Garcia and Roger Pogoy, however, brought the Tamaraws within five with a minute and change left before Teng found Revilla at the corner for that pivotal triple.
Romeo, however, was fouled by Vosotros while taking a three and made all three freebies, leasing a new life for FEU. Crucial misses by Garcia on a lay-up and by Gryann Mendoza from distance doomed the Tamaraw comeback, while three made free throws by Vosotros and Perkins iced the game for the Archers.
La Salle waxed hot early from the field, nailing four triples in the first canto by Revilla, Perkins, Matt Salem, and Thomas Torres, as they turned a slow start into a sizeable 18-11 edge after ten minutes of play. Their torrid shooting from distance continued in the second as Revilla, Torres, and Salem again nailed triples as they finished the half with an 8-for-17 shooting from the three-point area, as the La Salle lead swelled to 37-27 at the half.
A quick lay-up by Garcia and Romeo’s first triple brought the Archers’ lead to five at the start of the third, but a jumpshot by Teng and two triples by Revilla restored order and improved La Salle’s advantage to 11 points, 45-36. A baseline jumper by Perkins would later bring the DLSU lead to 15, 55-40, although Romeo and Hargrove would score charities that will allow the Tams to cut the lead to eleven, 60-49, entering the final ten minutes of play.
After an anemic first half, Romeo eventually finished with 22 points on 6-for-21 shooting, four rebounds, an assist, and a steal, though he did have five turnovers. Garcia added 16 markers, eight caroms, three assists, and a steal for the Tamaraws, who now have their backs against the wall after failing to nab the twice-to-beat edge.
La Salle’s starting line-up of Teng, Vosotros, Arnold Van Opstal, Perkins, and Revilla outscored the Tams starting five, 57-41, while the team also had more assists than FEU, 17-12, and more second-chance points, 11-3.
The Next Game: Armed with the twice-to-beat advantage, the Green Archers will try to go for the jugular against the Tamaraws when they meet again this Wednesday, September 25, which will formally begin their Final Four series. A win by La Salle will bring them to the Finals for the first time since 2008, while a loss will extend their series to a rubber match on Saturday, September 28.
Notes: Early in the second quarter, Oda Tampus went down after scoring his only basket of the game and was found out to have a bone contusion, and did not return to the court;
DLSU- 74- Revilla-20, Perkins-14, Teng-13, Van Opstal-6, T. Torres-6, Salem-6, Vosotros-4, N. Torres-3, Tampus-2, Dela Paz-0,
FEU- 69- Romeo-22, Garcia-16, Belo-9, Tolomia-6, Mendoza-6, Pogoy-4, Hargrove-4, Cruz-2, Sentcheu-0
Quarterscores: 18-11, 37-27, 60-49, 74-69