WHEN it rains, it pours for Arellano.
The Chiefs sustained their rise in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, repulsing Jose Rizal University, 72-65, in the Final Four on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena to set up a title showdown with San Beda.
Arellano, making its first appearance in the Final Four, continued to make history for the Legarda-based school by reaching the Finals.
“Every win is a history for us,” Chiefs coach Jerry Codiñera said. “I didn’t know we would reach this far.”
Dioncee Holts left his imprint early, scoring all but one of his 22 points in the first three quarters, but it was Levi Hernandez and Jiovani Jalalon who took over and buried the key baskets down the stretch for the Chiefs, who arranged a Finals meeting with San Beda.
Game One is on Monday also at the MOA Arena.
The Chiefs were ahead most of the game, but had to endure anxious moments in the endgame, where the Bombers threatened behind the hot shooting of Jaycee Asuncion.
The senior wingman fired a team-high 19 points, including a triple that gave JRU a momentary 63-62 lead.
The Chiefs, however, finished the game with a flourish, banking on a 10-2 run capped by a Jalalon bank shot to put the game to bed.
Philip Paniamogan, the Bombers’ top scorer, fired blanks for his team in the do-or-die match, wounding up with just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in just 14 minutes.
AU 72 – Holts 22, Hernandez 12, Jalalon 8, Caperal 8, Pinto 7, Agovida 7, Ciriacruz 4, Salcedo 2, Enriquez 2, Gumaru 0, Bangga 0, Cadavis 0
JRU 65 – Teodoro 19, Asuncion 13, Mabulac 13, Abdul Wahab 6, Benavides 5, Sanchez 4, Paniamogan 3, Lasquety 2, Salaveria 0, Grospe 0
Quarterscores: 21-18, 36-31, 54-53, 72-65