THE Arellano Braves edged defending champion San Beda Red Cubs, 93-90, on Monday to preserve their unblemished record in the NCAA Season 92 juniors basketball at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Guilmer Dela Torre scored 28 points, including a three-point play with 44.3 seconds left that put the Braves ahead, 91-90.
Lars Sunga added 16 points and nine boards for the Braves, who stayed spotless in eight games, after outscoring the Red Cubs, 29-23, in the final period.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, minsan may doubt pa sila eh, ano ba pupunta ba tayo dito na parang naiilang tayo sa kanila o pupunta tayo dito na parang gusto nating manalo?,” said Braves head coach Tylon Darjuan in recalling what he told his wards before the start of the fourth period.
“Tulong lang din ng Panginoon kaya ganoon siguro,” he added.
The Red Cubs fell to 7-1.
The rematch of last year’s finals match saw 11 deadlocks and 21 lead changes with no lead extending to double digits.
The Braves came up with a 6-0 run to begin the fourth, 70-67, but the Red Cubs retook the lead with back-to-back baskets by Carlo Obenza and Joshua Tagala to set up the thrilling finish.
Arellano scored seven points on free throws to get the lead back, 84-83, entering the final two minutes of the game.
Ed Velasquez hit a three to put the Red Cubs ahead, 90-88, with 53.7 seconds left before Dela Torre hit the crucial three-point play.
Down two, Sam Abu Hilje had a chance to push the game to overtime but his shot was denied by Aaron Fermin, prompting the Red Cubs to foul Carlo Abadeza, who sank one free throw with 5.4 remaining.
Velasquez’s three-point try from halfcourt didn’t hit the rim at the buzzer.
Abu Hilje and Germy Mahinay led the Red Cubs with 15 points each.
Arellano 93 — Dela Torre 28, Sunga 16, Fermin 11, Abadeza 11, Dulatre 8, Espiritu 7, Dimaunahan 5, Danas 3, Rivera 3, Batillier 1
SBC 90 — Abu Hilje 15, Mahinay 15, Obenza 11, Etrata 11, Tagala 10, Alfaro 9, Velasquez 8, Nayve 5, Lagumen 5, Nelle 1
Quarterscores: 19-19; 39-39; 64-67; 93-90.