JOHN Pinto tied the match with nine seconds left and Ralph Salcedo hit the game winner, giving Arellano a 78-76 victory over San Beda that vaulted the Chiefs to the top spot of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
Salcedo dispossessed Ranbill Tongco and made the basket to help the Chiefs score their 13th win in 17 outings to formally book their first-ever appearance in the Final Four since joining the league five seasons ago.
The Red Lions, meanwhile, ended their elimination-round assignments with three straight losses for a 13-5 card and second place in the 10-team standings, although they have earlier secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.
Dioncee Holts came up wuth a huge double-double for the Chiefs with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Keith Agovida came up with 17 markers.
San Beda’s Nigerian reinforcement Ola Adeogun had a double-double of 23 points and 19 boards.
Arellano (78) – Holts 19, Agovida 17, Ciriacruz 12, Pinto 10, Jalalon 8, Gumaru 4, Salcedo 2, Hernandez 2, Bangga 2, Palma 2, Nicholls 0, Caperal 0, Enriquez 0.
San Beda (76) – Adeogun 23, Amer 18, Dela Cruz 15, Sara 7, Tongco 4, A. Semerad 3, Mendoza 2, Pascual 2, Sorela 2, Koga 0, Mocon 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17; 39-32; 55-58; 78-76.