ARELLANO University played inspired basketball to continue its late push for a semis slot in NCAA Season 93, scoring a crucial 85-79 victory over San Sebastian on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Chiefs fought valiantly with Kent Salado riding the bench for the latter half of the fourth quarter due to a leg injury.
With Salado out, Lervin Flores took the leadership mantle on the floor with guys like Michael Canete and Zach Nichols making big plays down the stretch.
Back to back baskets by Canete kept the Stags at bay, 78-69, with 1:17 left to go before Nichols drained the dagger three with 50 ticks on the clock, giving the Chiefs an 83-72 lead.
The victory allowed the Chiefs to tie the Stags at fifth at 7-9 with two games left, behind fourth running Letran by a full game (8-8).
"Minor adjustments lang on our end. Nung una I feel na our team doesn’t really believe in team defense, akala nila pick and roll defense is just the work of two guys lang. Pero in the end nagtulong tulong kami," said Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera.
"Nung three quarters it was laid down by Kent, hindi lang naman siya, pero we already had a good start. It's up to the others na lang and it's high time for them to know how to close it without Kent," he added.
Salado still wound up with a game-high 22 points despite leaving midway through the fourth with a strained right knee injury. He also made six assists.
Salado believes it might not be serious with no swelling in the knee after the match.
Canete added 15 points and three steals as Levi Dela Cruz chipped in 10.
Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan paced the Stags with 14 apiece.
Arellano 85 - Salado 22, Cañete 15, Dela Cruz 10, Nicholls 9, Viloria 8, Abanes 6, Flores 4, Meca 4, Alcoriza 3, Concepcion 2, Enriquez 2, Taywan 0.
San Sebastian 79 - Bulanadi 14, Ilagan 14, Calma 12, Gayosa 9, Navarro 9, Calisaan 7, Capobres 7, Costelo 3, David 2, Mercado 2, Baetiong 0, Quipse 0, Valdez 0.
Quarterscores: 20-19; 38-33; 60-52; 85-79.