Star rookie Jeron Teng struggled the whole game, but all he needed was one shot at the buzzer to push La Salle past University of Santo Tomas, 53-51, in UAAP Season 75 action Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Teng, the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors, scored just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting, but that was enough to lift the Green Archers to their sixth win in nine games to tighten their grip on the fourth spot in the standings.
With the game tied at 51-all with just 3.3 seconds left, La Salle gave the ball to Teng, who got past defenders and freed himself for a leaning jumper that hit the bottom of the net as the time expired.
“I’m grateful na binigay sa ‘kin yung last shot,” Teng said. “Ito yung first [game-winner] ko sa big games.”
La Salle trailed for most of the game, with UST keeping the lead all throughout the first two quarters to gain a 27-22 edge at the half.
The Green Archers finally took the lead after the third quarter, 39-37, courtesy of free throws by center Arnold Van Opstal late in the period.
La Salle then stretched their lead to as much as seven at the start of the fourth quarter, 44-37, but the Growling Tigers clawed back and tied the game after center Karim Abdul scored underneath off a Jeric Fortuna dish with just 3.3 seconds left.
Teng then hit the game-winner in the next possession.
“We’re just very lucky to have survived this win,” La Salle coach Gee Abanilla said.
Guard Almond Vosotros scored 12 points, while Thomas Torres chipped in 10 points for La Salle.
Abdul, meanwhile, led UST with his 14 points and six rebounds.
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