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Ben Mbala's double-double and Hot Shooting from Aljun Melecio leads Archers to Game 1 Victory

Ben Mbala(Left) and Isaac Go(Right) fights for the jump ball. Photo by Ian Genada

The Game 1 of the dream match between the Ateneo Blue Eagles and De La Salle Green Archers did not disappointed the 16,712 people inside the sold out MOA Arena as both teams fought their hearts out to get a thrilling win. 

The De La Salle Green Archers earned a hard-fought win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday night by a score of 67-65. De La Salle Green Archers now leads the Ateneo Blue Eagles 1-0 in the UAAP men's basketball finals.

The Green Archers took advantage of the cold shooting of the blue eagles and limited them to only 2 points in the first minutes of the game. DLSU remained composed while Ateneo tried to find the basket. Ateneo only finished the first quarter with only 6 points while DLSU  scored 19 points leading Ateneo. 

The Blue Eagles fought back in the second quarter and cut the lead to just 10 points after a strong start and showing from Ikeh and Black. 

When everyone thought DLSU was dominating the game, Ateneo made a comeback as they outscored De La Salle by 10 points making the game tied after the third quarter.

The reportedly Rookie of the Year, Aljun Melecio, was red hot and started a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter with a quick release three pointer off the glass. It was a thrilling fourth quarter as both teams answered back to what the opposing team was doing. Ateneo's Chibuze Ikeh tried to be aggressive for Ateneo but Melecio remains on fire as he lifted DLSU up to a three point lead. Ikeh scored another basket after a lose ball from the block of Ben Mbala cutting the lead to just one point. But it was the King Archer Jeron Teng who was able come up big at the last seconds of the game. 

Thirdy Ravena (Left) defends Jeron Teng (Right)
After making a shot clock buzzer beater that was ruled out by the referees, Teng came back with two clutch plays in the final 30 seconds of the game. Jeron made a lay-up after a turnover from Ateneo. The Blue Eagles had one posession to win or tie the game but Aaron Black was blocked by Jeron Teng. Montalbo was then fouled and was sent to the free-throw line. Kib Montalbo had a chance to give the DLSU a three point cushion but was only able to convert one. The Green Archers are now up 67-65. Ateneo attempted a Hail-Mary but it was not even close.

The reigning UAAP's MVP Ben Mbala had a double-double scoring 20 points along with 15 rebounds, 2 steals and a block.

Aaron Black led the Blue Eagles scoring with 12 points and 8 rebounds.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles will look to get back into the series in a Do-or-die game on Saturday, while the De La Salle Green Archers will try to close the series and win the championship.  

Game 2 will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, December.

La Salle Green Archers geared up with Nike Hypderdunk 2016 ID

Ben Mbala and Chibueze Ikeh fighting for a rebound.

A die-hard Jeron Teng fan holds up a banner.


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