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    Perpetual Altas’ game plan: Stop Justin Arana, you stop Arellano

    May 1, 2022
    Justin Arana of Arellano
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    STOP Justin Arana, stop Arellano University.

    That plain and simple was University of Perpetual Help’s plan against the Chiefs and the Altas succeeded in holding down the rebounding demon and emerged a 59-52 winner in their play-in on Sunday in the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball tournament.

    The Altas denied the 6-foot-5 Arana from having his usual numbers as the Arellano star failed to punch in a double-double in the most important game for the Chiefs this season, logging nine points and 17 rebounds in 29 minutes of play.

    [See Perpetual ousts Ateneo, gains playoff for Final Four spot]

    The effort rewarded the Altas the victory and the right to face College of St. Benilde for the last berth in the Final Four.

    “Yun talaga ang game plan namin. Alam ninyo naman ang Arellano, Justin Arana’s team. Sabi ko sa kanila pag binigay ninyo yung komportable sa kanya, tayo ang hindi magiging komportable,” said Perpetual Help coach Mike Saguiguit.

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      Perpetual big man Mark Omega was given the daunting task to hold down the NCAA’s rebounding king.

      “Si Mark Omega sabi ko kahit wala kang ma-shoot trabahuhin mo,” said Saguiguit of his strict order on defending the 23-year-old Aranas. “I-stop natin yan, and we’ll have a good chance in beating Arellano.”

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      The Altas did.

      Arana only had four points and nine rebounds in the first half. He did get into a rhythm during the third period when the Chiefs held their biggest lead at 42-34, but the Altas repeatedly denied him the ball inside and held him scoreless in the final quarter.

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        Aranas eventually was recalled to the bench in the final five minutes as the Chiefs opted to go small in an effort to counter the pesky trapping of the Altas, who by then already had the game under control.

        Omega incidentally, finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

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        “Sabi ko nga sa pre-game ko binibigyan tayo ng pintuan, so katukin natin ng malakas para mabuksan,” said Saguiguit.

        The door did open, giving the Altas a new lease on life.

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        PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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