ARELLANO University overcame a sluggish start with a huge second half turnaround to beat College of St. Benilde, 87-81, and break a four-game slump in NCAA Season 93 on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Falling behind early, the Chiefs were in danger of sinking to a new low as the Blazers opened a 39-23 lead halfway through the second quarter.
But behind unheralded guard Levi dela Cruz, the Chiefs were able to slowly chip away the lead, resulting into a big fourth where they overtook the Blazers for good.
A lay-up by Kent Salado in the 4:45 mark of the fourth gave the Chiefs the lead for good before dela Cruz wrapped up his stellar play by scoring eight points in the next three minutes to finish off the Blazers for good.
"Masaya. Hininhintay talaga namin. Pag gising ko kanina, maganda yung pakiramdam ko na mananalo na kami," said Arellano coach Jerry Codinera.
"We were just staying positive at wag lang mawalan sila ng pasensya sa isa't isa. We just found a way to win. Whatever it takes," he added.
Dela Cruz could be just what the doctor ordered for Arellano as he paced the Chiefs with 24 points on 9-13 shooting to go along with four assists, three rebounds and a block.
Lervin Flores added a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to make up for a relatively quiet night from Kent Salado, who wound up with just nine points, three assists and two steals.
The loss spoiled the big games of Clement Leutcheu and Edward Dixon who both had double-doubles.
Leutcheu finished with 21 points and 10 boards as Dixon finished with 14 markers and 14 rebounds for the Blazers who dropped their third straight game.
The win allowed Arellano to improve to 3-5 as the Blazers fell to 2-7.
ARELLANO 87 - Dela Cruz 24, Flores 14, Salado 9, Alcoriza 8, Enriquez 7, Nicholls 7, Concepcion 6, Cañete 4, Meca 4, Taywan 4, Filart 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Padilla 0, Viloria 0.
ST. BENILDE 81 - Leutcheu 21, Dixon 14, Domingo 10, Sta. Maria 10, Naboa 9, Castor 8, Pili 6, San Juan 3, Young 0.
Quarterscores: 19-20, 35-47, 58-62, 87-81.