JUSTIN Arana helped ensure Arellano place in the play-in tournament of the NCAA Season 97 seniors basketball competition as the Chiefs won a 65-62 thriller over also-ran Jose Rizal University on Wednesday at La Salle Greenhills.
The 6-foot-7 center once again delivered a herculean effort with his 18 points and a career-high 29 rebounds, including the cold-blooded free throws with 37.8 seconds left that made it a three-point game.
The Chiefs kept the window open for the Heavy Bombers after turning the ball over with 12.5 seconds left, but Jason Celis failed to hit his open three from the right corner as time expired.
Arana also collected two blocks and one assist as he played all 40 minutes for Arellano which won back-to-back games to end the eliminations with a 4-5 record.
"Buti na lang healthy pa rin si Arana sa fourth quarter," said coach Cholo Martin. "Yung kanyang record, binreak niya na naman."
Axel Doromal also got 13 points, two boards, and two dimes, as Gelo Sablan had 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals in the win.
The Chiefs will now await the winner of the game between Perpetual and Emilio Aguinaldo College on Friday to see who they will face in the first phase of the play-in tourney.
Arellano, however, almost suffered a massive collapse after losing grip of a nine-point third quarter lead as JRU staged a 14-5 run to take the 60-58 lead with 3:57 remaining and set up the nip-and-tuck finish.
EJ Agbong rallied the Heavy Bombers with 16 points, three rebounds, a steal, and a block, while Marwin Dionisio got 10 points and three boards in this third straight loss.
JRU ended at the cellar of the eliminations with its 1-8 card.
ARELLANO 65 -- Arana 18, Doromal 13, Sablan 11, Sta. Ana 7, Oliva 6, Concepcion 3, Valencia 2, Caballero 2, Carandang 2, Cruz 1, Steinl 0.
JRU 62 -- Agbong 16, Dionisio 11, Macatangay 9, Delos Santos 8, Arenal 7, Celis 7, Guiab 4, Jungco 0, Bongay 0, Aguado 0, Estrella 0, Aguilar 0, C. Gonzales 0, dela Rama 0.
Quarters: 20-17, 34-28, 53-46, 65-62.
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