ST. Benilde survived a late flurry from Arellano to preserve its immaculate run in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament with an 82-77 victory Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Justin Gutang, who is coming back from a sprained left MCL and a bruised right calf, poured 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block.
His reverse at the 1:49 mark of the fourth quarter gave St. Benilde a 15-point edge, 82-67, but a furious Chiefs side, bannered by rookies Marlon Espiritu and Kai Oliva, brought Arellano back to within five, 82-77, with 18.6 ticks left.
Robi Nayve flubbed a pair of free throws, leaving the door open for the Chiefs, but Unique Naboa stole the ball on Espiritu late to cap off the conquest.
"We should be able to handle those pressures, moving the ball from our backcourt to our frontcourt with anybody inside the floor," rued coach TY Tang after his side extended their best start in school history to 5-0.
He, however, isn't resting on his laurels, especially with a monumental clash against Lyceum slated on Friday.
"We can't afford to make the same mistakes versus LPU. We're hoping come Friday, we could sustain our energy and our intensity," he said.
Clement Leutcheu led St. Benilde in scoring with 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, Yankie Haruna had 11 points, eight boards, and three dimes, and Jimboy Pasturan scored 10 in the win.
Arellano, on the other hand, incurred its third straight defeat to fall to a 1-6 slate.
Justin Arana churned out a career-best 25 points, to go with nine rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in the losing effort.
Gelo Sablan added 11 points and two boards, while Kent Salado was held down to just 10 points on a 5-of-14 clip from the field, alongside his seven rebounds and two assists against six turnovers.
- BENILDE 82 -- Leutcheu 13, Gutang 12, Haruna 11, Pasturan 10, Nayve 9, Dixon 8, Naboa 7, Carlos 5, Flores 3, Belgica 2, Lepalam 2, Sangco 0, Young 0, Velasco 0.
ARELLANO 77 -- Arana 25, Sablan 11, Salado 10, Espiritu 8, Talampas 6, Oliva 6, Alcoriza 5, Santos 5, Concepcion 1, Bayla 1, De Guzman 0.
Quarters: 18-13, 35-34, 60-52, 82-77.