BEING on the brink of elimination does bring out the best in players.
Arellano, whose NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four hopes are hanging by a thread, overwhelmed hapless Mapua, 115-75, on Saturday night in the most lopsided game of the season at The Arena in San Juan.
The Chiefs leaned on a strong start and never showed signs of letup en route to logging the highest scoring output by a team so far this year to notch a fifth win in 14 games,
They also added to the misery of the cellar-dwelling Cardinals, who suffered a 12th straight loss and 13th overall against a lone win.
The fate of the eighth-running Chiefs, however, are not in their hands anymore as they would need to sweep their remaining four games and hope for the teams ahead of them to lose their respective assignments to have a chance at a semifinal berth.
“Our battle cry is to finish strong,” Chiefs coach Koy Banal said. “Hindi namin alam kung ano ang future namin, but we have a responsibility to be professional.”
In case the Chiefs don’t make it, the next best thing is to end up in the top six, which gain them a spot in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League.
Levi Hernandez stood at the forefront of the Chiefs’ onslaught against the Cardinals, firing a career-high 28 points, making all but two of his eight three-point attempts, on top of two steals, and two blocks in just 23 minutes of play.
The Chiefs maintained a double-digit lead, which ballooned to as many as 43 points, 110-67, after an Alwin Margallo layup late in the game
The Cardinals’ loss spoiled another solid showing from skipper Kenneth Ighalo, who registered a game-high 29 points and 13 boards.
Arellano (115) -- Hernandez 28, Caperal 20, Forrester 19, Agovida 13, Pinto 10, Salcedo 6, Serjue 6, Margallo 5, Jalalon 4, Cadavis 2, Enriquez 2,Gumaru 0, Bangga 0.
Mapua (75) -- Ighalo 29, Estrella 14, Brana 11, Eriobu 11, Saitanan 3, Cantos 3, Biteng 2, Isit 2, Gabo 0, Guzman 0, Gonzalez 0, Magtoto 0.
Quarterscores: 29-15; 56-35; 83-57; 115-75.