MANILA, Philippines – Led by Dioncee Holts’ 22 points and Levi Hernandez’s 12 markers, the Arellano Chiefs beat the JRU Heavy Bombers, 72-65, in their no. 2 vs. no. 3 Final Four clash on Wednesday, October 15, at the Mall of Asia Arena to advance to the finals of the NCAA Season 90 men’s basketball tournament.
Arellano, the second seed, will look to win the NCAA championship by overthrowing four-time defending champion no. 1 San Beda Red Lions when their best-of-three series opens on Monday, October 20, at the MOA Arena.
The Red Lions took down no. 4 UPHSD Altas in Wednesday’s first game to advance to the finals.
The game looked to be comfortably in Arellano’s hands in the third quarter as the Chiefs held on to a 11-point lead. But not long after, a JRU rally cut the deficit to one, 54-53, heading into the final period.
Jaycee Asuncion, who had 13 points for the Bombers, hit a couple of clutch shots down the stretch to get his team within striking distance.
But thanks to a late 10-2 run courtesy of Hernandez and Jiovani Jalalon, the Chiefs managed to pull away late and make it to the finals in the same year where they made the tournament’s Final Four round for the first time since joining the NCAA in 2009.
Prince Caperal and John Pinto combined for 15 points to help secure victory for the Chiefs, while rookie Tey Teodoro led JRU with 19 points.
Bombers star Philip Paniamogan struggled to put the ball in the hoop all evening, registering just 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Arellano (72): Holts 22, Hernandez 12, Jalalon 8, Caperal 8, Pinto 7, Agovida 7, Ciriacruz 4, Salcedo 2, Enriquez 2, Gumaru 0, Bangga 0, Cadavis 0
JRU (65): Teodoro 19, Asuncion 13, Mabulac 13, Abdul Wahab 6, Benavides 5, Sanchez 4, Paniamogan 3, Lasquety 2, Salaveria 0, Grospe 0
Quarter Scores: 21-18, 36-31, 54-53, 72-65
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