It’s always sweeter the second time around.
Just like in their first round matchup, the Green Archers showed no mercy against the UST Growling Tigers yesterday. The boys from Taft ended the game with a 35-point rout, 94-59; with that being the most dominant win for this season.
Despite having a rough start and having trouble getting their offense on the go, the Green Archers were able to get things going after missing their first few field goals early in the first quarter. Their offense began with Ricci Rivero’s 3-point shot, which was then followed by 4 points by Ben Mbala. It was late into the first quarter when the Archers slowly started taking control of the game.
In the beginning of the second period, the Tigers were not letting the Archers completely pull away yet as they were able to cut the lead down to 4. Though despite the small run made by the Black and Gold, the Green and White made sure to keep the momentum on their end. Some of the contributors to this momentum would be the back-to-back steals made by Brent Paraiso and the 3 consecutive blocks by Mbala. Another contributing factor would be the back-to-back offensive plays by Ricci as he slithered through the defense of the Growling Tigers. Starting guard Andrei Caracut made his presence felt in the game as he closed out the second half for the Archers with a 3-point shot that extended the lead to 21 points.
As for starting point guard Aljun Melecio, he is still making his way back to his game as he scored his first points in the third quarter after his scoreless first half.
Just like in the previous game, the Green Archers’ front line dominated the front line of the UST Growling Tigers by controlling the boards on both ends of the floor.
Play after play, the Archers made sure their level of intensity both on offense and defense stayed the same, making sure that their opponent would not have an opportunity to score.
Despite the 12 turnovers in the first half, the Archers limited themselves to just 8, and were able to make 24 points out of the 24 turnovers by the Tigers.
Also, despite playing less than 20 minutes, Ben Mbala finished the game with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks, alongside Ricci Rivero who finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block. When asked about a comment regarding his playing time, Mbala said “I was able to rest. It also means that the second group is also doing well.”; he added “We know that we need to start the Final Four really strong, and me having a little bit of minutes to rest, that’s fine with me.”
Though this may be the second blowout game by the boys, the celebration should not start early for them as they still have 2 more games in the elimination round. They only need just one more win or one Adamson loss to seal the twice-to-beat.