MANILA, Philippines – Arellano University halted a three-game slide with a 72-63 win over Mapua on Sunday, April 10, in the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball tournament at the La Salle Green Hills Gym in Mandaluyong City.
Star center Justin Arana scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, and pulled down 15 rebounds as the Chiefs overcame a late Cardinals rally to tie their victims at 2-3.
“I’m thankful that we finally recovered,” said Arellano coach Cholo Martin in Filipino. “That’s what the guys are fighting for, to rise in the standings.”
After starting the season with a 3-0 record, Mapua has now lost two in a row to remain at fourth place.
The Cardinals threatened at 60-62 with 4:11 remaining, before Arana scattered 6 points in the Chiefs’ 10-0 run to put the game away, 72-60.
Martin is making sure that Arana, who played a season-high 36 minutes, is being taken care off as he is recovering from a right knee sprain sustained in Arellano’s season-opening win over San Sebastian.
Jordan Sta. Ana also played big for the Chiefs with 15 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds while Kai Oliva scored 10.
Warren Bonifacio produced 11 points and 10 boards to lead Mapua.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian forced a four-way tie at fifth place following an 83-71 conquest of Lyceum.
JM Calma (23 points and 11 rebounds) and Ken Villapando (12 points and 14 boards) produced double-double outings for the Stags, who also drew 15 points from Rommel Calahat.
“Everybody stepped up. That’s what I’m happy about,” said coach Egay Macaraya after San Sebastian rebounded from a heartbreaking 60-61 loss to San Beda last Friday, April 8.
The Stags’ victory put them in a 2-3 tie with Arellano, Perpetual, and EAC. The Pirates, on the other hand, lost for the fourth time in five games for a ninth-place 1-4 slate. – Rappler.com