MANILA — De La Salle capped off their dominant season by sweeping archrival Ateneo to capture the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Seniors Basketball title in their Game 2 showdown, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Graduating wingman Jeron Teng was named Finals MVP after spearheading the Green Archers with 28 points to go along with three rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
“La Salle deserves a championship, it is my way of giving back to the Lasallian community,” Teng stated after La Salle’s title-clinching win.
Ben Mbala once again showed why he is the reigning UAAP MVP by finishing with a double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds.
“The La Sallian community motivated me, they’ve always been there for me, being hungry for more also motivated us to become champions,” Mbala stressed after the game.
La Salle got off to a hot start as Jeron Teng conspired with Kib Montalbo and Ben Mbala in building a 45-35 advantage at halftime.
Ben Mbala wreaked havoc in the paint in the 3rd quarter, but Ateneo managed to stay within striking distance behind the efforts of Aaron Black, Adrian Wong, and Mike Nieto that trimmed the lead to seven, 59-52, after three quarters.
La Salle came out with guns blazing in the payoff period as Kib Montalbo, Aljun Melecio and Ben Mbala’s baskets widened the gap to double digits.
Down but unbowed, Mike Nieo, Raffy Veran, and Isaac Go steered Ateneo’s squad’s colossal run that brought them within four, 73-69.
Time unfortunately not on their side as Ben Mbala, Jeron Teng, and Thomas Torres buried pressure-packed charities to secure their 9th title.
Mike Nieto led Ateneo in scoring with 18 points, while Raffy Verano and John Wong added 10 points apiece. Verano also went one rebound shy of a double-double. Kevin Patrick Marian/PNA-northboundasia.com