NATIONAL team hopeful Prince Caperal came up with 25 points to lead Arellano to a 76-70 victory over College of St. Benilde on Thursday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
His selection to the national team still unsure with Greg Slaughter and Raymond Almazan ahead in the pecking order to back up Marcus Douthit, the 20-year-old slotman from San Mateo gave a glimpse of what he can do for the squad, helping the Chiefs score their third straight win to keep their faint Final Four hopes alive.
The Chiefs recorded their seventh win in 16 games and still have to win their last two assignments and pray that fourth-running San Sebastian (9-7 win-loss) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (8-8) lose theirs to force a playoff for a semifinal berth.
Caperal, one of only two stalwarts invited in the training pool, gained ample support from Davaoeño playmaker Nard Pinto, who churned in all-around numbers of 13 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
The Chiefs bucked a slow start then kept the Blazers at bay. St. Benilde came to within two, 66-68, after two charities from Mark Romero with three minutes and 22 seconds left, before Caperal retaliated with two free throws of his own as the Blazers never came closer.
Paolo Taha registered a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort for the Blazers, who stayed in ninth place after suffering an 11th loss in 16 games.
AU (76) – Caperal 25, Pinto 13, Hernandez 12, Agovida 12, Jalalon 6, Forrester 6, Gumaru 2, Salcedo 0, Serjue 0, Cadavis 0, Enriquez 0
CSB (70) – Taha 20, Grey 13, Romero 12, Saavedra 9, Jonson 5, Garcia 5, Deles 4, Sinco 2, Nayve 0, Bartolo 0, Argamino 0, Carlos 0, Ongteco 0, De Guzman 0
Quarterscores: 12-17, 36-35, 55-54, 76-70.