ARELLANO kept its hot pursuit of a Final Four spot in the NCAA Season 93 without Kent Salado as the Chiefs blasted the skidding Perpetual Help Altas, 62-52, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The win was the Chiefs' fourth straight as they took provisional fifth place with an 8-9 record with a game to spare in the tournament.
But the best they can do now is win their remaining game and hope that Letran (8-8) loses one of its two games to get a shot at a playoff for a semis spot.
With their best offensive player in Salado sidelined for a month with a knee injury, the Chiefs turned to their defense as they went on a 21-3 tear to bridge the second and third quarters for a 44-25 lead.
Lervin Flores led a balanced Arellano attack in that stretch as they took the lead for good and showed little signs of letting up to cruise to the all important victory.
The Chiefs will cap their elimination round schedule on Oct. 17 when they take on Mapua.
Perpetual on the other hand lost its sixth straight and dropped to 4-12 for the season.
"Syempre laking change para sa kanila without Kent. Syempre yung takbo ng bola iba, pero nakaadjust naman sila. We started bad, medyo di makascore. Pero nung nakashoot na si Flores, nawala na yung doubts, yung apprehensions," said Jerry Codinera.
"Sinabi ko naman sa kanila, with or without Kent, well play and do our best. Let’s offer it to Kent, the whole playoffs," he added.
Flores played like a true veteran with 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocks as the backcourt also stepped up for the Chiefs.
Rence Alcoriza added 16 points and seven boards while Levi de la Cruz added 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Prince Eze had another monster defensive game put to waste for the Altas with 11 points, 22 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Arellano 62 – Flores 19, Alcoriza 16, Dela Cruz 11, Canete 6, Nicholls 5, Villoria 4, Meca 1, Enriquez 0, Abanes 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Taywan 0, Concepcion 0, Padilla 0.
Perpetual 52 – Coronel 14, Eze 11, Lucente 10, Pido 8, Dagangon 6, Ylagan 3, Tamayo 0, Casas 0, Clemente 0, Yuhico 0, Mangalino 0, Sadiwa 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17; 29-23; 48-34; 62-52.