ARELLANO University nearly blew a double-digit lead late but hung tough in the end, outlasting Emilio Aguinaldo College, 84-79, to keep its Final Four hopes alive in the NCAA Season 93 on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center.
Leading by as many as 15 in the third, Jerome Garcia and Sydney Onwubere led a blistering attack in the fourth which trimmed the Chiefs’ lead to just one, 74-75, with 1:52 left in the game.
But the Chiefs had one more fight in them with Lervin Flores hitting some big foul shots and a crucial defensive play to put the Generals away for good.
After putting his squad up by five, 81-76, following two foul shots with 31.3 seconds left, Flores made a crucial rejection on the red-hot Garcia which led to a fastbreak lay-up for Levi dela Cruz to seal the win.
“Sobra yung game, kahit hanggang sa dulo di kami magkakakumpyansa e, grabe yung three points ng kabila,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codinera whose squad improved to 5-8 for the tournament.
“Coming into this game, we knew na mahirap talaga kalaban ang EAC, talagang mataas ang kumpyansa niyan so I know talagang down to the wire ang laban na’to,” he added.
Michael Canete led the Chiefs with a career-best 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go along 10 rebounds as Kent Salado added 23 markers and five assists.
Flores finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, making eight of his nine attempts at the stripe. Dela Cruz also had a solid game with 13 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
It was a frustrating run for EAC, which saw Onwubere and Jervin Guzman foul out late in the game. They also gave up a total of 47 free throws to their foes, with the Chiefs making 30, compared to their 7-of-12 shooting from the line.
Garcia had 15 points to lead the Generals as Onwubere finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
The defeat sent the Generals to sixth place with a 6-7 record.
ARELLANO 84 – Canete 27, Salado 23, Flores 16, Dela Cruz 13, Enriquez 3, Nicholls 2, Alcoriza 0, Meca 0, Concepcion 0, Taywan 0
EAC 79 – Garcia 15, Mendoza J 13, Guzman 12, Onwubere 10, Diego 9, Tampoc 8, Munsayac 4, Pascua 4, Bugarin 4, Mendoza I 0, Neri 0, Corilla 0
QUARTERSCORES: 24-22, 46-36, 63-52, 84-79