ARELLANO University survived a late Mapua rally, pulling off an 82-79 win on Monday to keep a share of the lead in the NCAA men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
John Pinto showed the way as usual for the Chiefs, scoring 13 of his 25 points in the first quarter, while Jiovani Jalalon led the late surge by coming up with 10 of his 18 points in the final period.
The Chiefs scored their ninth win in 11 matches to match the record of San Beda, which earlier downed San Sebastian.
The Chiefs squandered a double-digit advantage early in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals went on a 18-9 run to tie the game at 76.
Arellano regained the upperhand before Mapua’s CJ Isit drained a wide-open triple that made it 79-80, with 5.2 seconds ticking on the game clock, but Jalalon made two charity baskets to secure the win.
Chiefs coach Codinera was relieved to get the win, noting that the Chiefs played sloppy defense.
“Late na dumepensa ang team, parang walang sense of urgency ang team. Siguro dala na ng attitude na we have eight wins.”
“But as I said this is NCAA, all games will always go down the wire, all players and coaches prepare so hard. It's a battle of streaks and stops, mag-streak ang Mapua ng mahaba, mag-streak kami ng mahaba, sino ang maka-stop, 'yun ang mananalo.”
Isit finished with 21 points, Joseph Erioubu added 19 and Andoy Estrella contributed 18 for Mapua, which absorbed its third consecutive loss and 10th overall in 11 games.
Arellano 82: Pinto 25, Jalalon 18, Holts 9, Ciriacruz 8, Enriquez 8, Agovida 7, Nicholls 5, Salcedo 2, Palma 0, Caperal 0, Ortega 0, Cadavis 0.
Mapua 79: Isit 21, Eriobu 19, Estrella 18, Gabo 8, Biteng 5, Cantos 4, Tubiano 2, Villasenor 2, Canaynay 0, Layug 0.
Quarterscores: 26-24; 40-26; 54-62; 79-20.