EMILIO Aguinaldo College leaned on a solid second-half performance to hammer Arellano, 79-63, in a fight-marred game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
Igee King put on his best offensive game of the season, while Cedric Happi atoned for a woeful first half with a strong showing in the last two quarters as the Generals notched their second straight victory and third overall in eight games.
The Generals also tied the day’s earlier winner College of St. Benilde in sixth place.
A scuffle involving the Generals’ Sidney Onwubere and the Chiefs’ James Forrester broke out as the final buzzer sounded.
It was a tale of two halves for the Chiefs, who led in the first two quarters, before coming out flat in the next two on the way to their fourth straight defeat and sixth overall against two wins.
Hyped as preseason favorites, the Chiefs are now only a half-game over cellar-dwelling Mapua.
Trailing throughout the first half, the Generals turned the game around in the next two quarters where Happi, EAC’s Cameroonian slotman, scored all but one of his 19 points that went with 10 boards and three steals.
King, for his part, pumped in a season-high 20 points — mostly on conversions off strong penetrations to the hoop — including 10 in the fourth quarter when the Generals’ cushion ballooned to as many as 18 after leading by just a point at the end of the third canto.
“That’s the usual Igee na hinahanap ko. And Happi woke up in the second half,” Generals coach Gerry Esplana said. “We made it simple: we made stops and we ran.”
EAC (79) – King 20, Happi 19, Paguia 16, Jamon 11, Tayongtong 8, Arquero 3, Morada 2, Hiole Manga 0, Munsayac 0, Onwubere 0.
AU (63) – Caperal 16, Agovida 9, Gumaru 7, Jalalon 7, Bangga 6, Pinto 6, Nicholls 5, Serjue 3, Salcedo 2, Forrester 2, Hernandez 0, Cadavis 0.
Quarterscores: 15-22; 30-36; 51-50; 79-63.