LA Salle-Greenhills turned to Unique Naboa in the clutch as it turned back Arellano University, 79-76, on Tuesday to clinch the No. 3 seed in the 92nd NCAA juniors basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Naboa, a 16-year-old point guard from Caloocan, exploded with 21 points including nine in the fourth quarter that propelled the Junior Blazers, who ended up with the same 13-5 win-loss record with the Braves at the end of the eliminations, to take the No. 3 spot.
La Salle-Greenhills takes on Mapua, while Arellano will battle San Beda in the semifinals.
The Cubs (17-1) and the Robins (15-3) have the twice-to-beat advantages.
"The boys showed toughness in the final minutes," said La Salle-Greenhills coach Marvin Bienvenida.
With the Greenies down, 65-70, a little under four minutes to play, the sweet-shooting Naboa scored eight points to give LSGH the lead.
His biggest shot came with 58 seconds to go when he drained a triple that gave the Greenies a 75-74 lead and the Junior Blazers never looked back.
Guillmer de la Torre, one of the MVP race leaders, led Arellano with 20 points.
LSGH 79 – Naboa 21, Mallinllin 12, Espinosa 12, Lepalam 11, lao 6, Cagulangan 5, David 5, Marcos 4, Belgica 2, Pedrosa 1, R. Cruz 0, B. Cruz 0.
Arellano 76 – Dela Torre 20, Abadeza 17, Sunga 14, Danas 14, Domingo 3, Batilier 2, Espiritu 2, Fermin 2, Dimaunahan 2, Tamayo 0, Fornis 0, Dulatre 0.
Quarterscores: 18-21; 32-35; 57-56; 79-76.