ARELLANO handed San Beda its first loss of the NCAA Season 91, beating the Red Cubs, 72-68, on Tuesday in the juniors finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Carlo Abadeza and Guilmer Dela Torre had 16 and 15 points, respectively, to spark the victory that enabled the Braves to stay alive in the finals.
Arellano, however, still needs to win twice as San Beda owns a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals owing to an 18-game sweep of the eliminations. The Red Cubs, who won Game One, need only a win to lift the title.
The loss was the first for San Beda this season after winning all 18 games of the elimination.
In all, the Taytay-based squad had a 21-game winning streak dating back to last season’s championship run.
The Braves started out strong and stayed in control the entire game with Abadeza and Dela Torre combining for 20 points in the second half.
“Sabi ko sa kanila lagi, start strong. Kailangang masigla na agad kasi mahirap talunin ‘yung ilang taon na nagcha-champion,” said Arellano coach Tylone Dar Juan.
“Kung matino ka (maglaro) at stick sa depensa, may posibilidad na tatalunin namin,” said Dar Juan.
Samuel Abu Hijle had 16 points while Evan Nelle had 15 points for the Red Cubs, who got within 66-70 late in the game. But Dela Torre put out the fire by hitting a running shot with 33.4 seconds left.
Game Three is slated Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Arellano (72) — Abadeza 16, Dela Torre 15, Bataller 9, Sunga 7, Calapine 7, Velasco 5, Tamayo 5, Danas 4, Espiritu 2, Fornis 2.
San Beda (68) — Abu Hijle 16, Nelle 15, Bordeus 13, Velasquez 6, Nayve 4, Mahinay 4, Tagala 3, Lagumen 3, Etrata 2, Alfaro 2, Dela Rosa 2.
Quarterscores: 25-13, 41-35, 57-49, 72-68.