ARELLANO shrugged off a slow start to move a win shy of surpassing its best mark in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament following a 63-54 victory over Jose Rizal University on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
Keith Agovida and Levi Hernandez shone for the Chiefs, who improved to an 8-9 win-loss card to match their best win total in the country’s oldest collegiate league, which came in their first season in 2009 when they finished with an 8-10 slate.
The Chiefs, who already have two wins more than last season when they wound up with a 6-12 record, stretched their winning streak to four games as they continued to give their supporters something to cheer about after another middling season.
“It’s been a while since I experienced a winning streak this long,” Chiefs coach Koy Banal said. “We just want to finish our season strong.”
Sustaining the salvo won’t be easy as the Chiefs end their Season 89 campaign against defending champion and league-leading San Beda.
Hernandez and Agovida tallied 19 points apiece, with the former firing all his points in the middle quarters and the latter taking over in the payoff period, where he scored 13 points.
The Heavy Bombers, who fell to 6-12, good for eighth place in the standings, led most of the way, but surrendered the lead in the payoff period.
Hernandez gave the Chiefs the lead for good at 48-47 after converting a three-point play early in the four quarter.
Areallano (63) -- Hernandez 19, Agovida 19, Jalalon 8, Caperal 8, Gumaru 4, Pinto 3, Salcedo 2, Forrester 0, Bangga 0, Serjue 0.
Jose Rizal (54) -- Paniamogan 22, Abanto 11, Sanchez 5, Balagtas 4, Benavides 3, Mabulac 3, Lasquety 2, Dela Paz 2, Diego 2, Salaveria 0, Gozum 0, Grospe 0.
Quarterscores: 9-13; 25-29; 41-45; 63-54.