ARELLANO University sit firmly in second thanks to Chief John Pinto, while Juneric Baloria has helped Perpetual Help take third spot in the NCAA Season 90 men’s basketball tournament.
For their impressive performances, Pinto and Baloria were named NCAA Players of the Week by scribes covering the beat.
Pinto, a proud son of Davao, came through with the biggest plays in the dying seconds to lift Arellano to a 67-66 squeaker over College of St. Benilde Friday to improve to a 7-2 (win-loss) slate, just half a game behind four-peat champion San Beda (7-1).
Baloria erupted with a league season-high 32 points including six booming triples to power the Altas to a come-from-behind 85-82 victory over the Letran Knights last Saturday and into a share of third spot with the Jose Rizal Bombers on 5-3 (win-loss) records.
The 23-year-old Baloria, a Lanao del Norte native who was discovered by Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario playing in the streets of Angeles City, Pampanga, poured in 10 points in the fourth quarter including a triple and a three-point play that pushed his team to within a point and a steal and layup that gave it the marginal lead.
Both trying to go out with a bang as they are turning pros this year, Baloria and Pinto beat Jose Rizal's Bernabe Teodoro and Arellano's Dioncee Holts for the Accel-Quantum-3XVI NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week award backed by Bactigel hand sanitizer, Doctor J Mighty Alcohol and Mighty Mom Anti-bacteria.
"I want to help my team win its first NCAA championship before I turn pro," said Baloria in Filipino.
"I just want to give it all and help my team because this is my last season," Pinto said.