Agovida powers Arellano past Letran
MANILA, Philippines - It took 3 tough tries from underneath the basket but Keith Agovida got the go-ahead basket to go with 1:36 to play to tow the Arellano University Chiefs to a 63-62 escape from the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights in the men's basketball tournament of the NCAA Season 90 on Monday, August 4 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Agovida scored his 14th point by powering through the defense of 3 Knights down the stretch.
After Kevin Racal sank a booming go-ahead triple from the left corner 13 seconds earlier, 62-61, Agovida quickly went to work attempting to put the ball into the hoop on the other end.
But the ball rolled and bounced out of the ring twice with Agovida getting the offensive board each time despite having to fight for each possession against 3 Knights. The third time was the charm as Agovida finally got the ball in and even had the opportunity to complete a three-point play.
He missed the freebie, however, and it left the Chiefs and Letran scrambling for every possession and muffing their attempts.
Reneford Ruaya (8 points, 15 rebounds) had a chance to steal the win with a basket in a wild sequence during the dying seconds but bigman Dioncee Holts (9 points, 12 rebounds) denied his attempt emphatically as the leather sailed away from the ring and time expired.
"Nag-MVP performance. Grabe yung performance ni Keith (Agovida)," head coach Jerry Cordiñera commended Agovida, who dropped 8 points in the final canto. "He just needs to be consistent in what he's doing." (He had an MVP performance. His performance was exceptional.)
Cordiñera also went so far as to compare the 24-year old forward to former PBA Most Valuable Player and current San Miguel Beermen forward Arwind Santos.
"He's like a small version of Arwind Santos. We don't look for him on offense, it's just through his own efforts."
The Chiefs won this game by sheer defensive effort as they battled back from a 16-8 first quarter deficit and limited Letran to just 13 points in the payoff period.
"Nawala kami ng kaunti sa execution. But you have to balance ang depensa," Cordiñera said. (We got lost in our execution but you have to balance that with defense.)
They also managed without starting playmaker Jiovani Jalalon at crunch time as he fouled out with 6 minutes left to play.
Cordiñera and his squad were forced to put John Pinto at the point, making it difficult for him to find his scoring.
"Ang hirap kasi pagod na pagod si Pinto to bring down the ball," he explained. "Sabi ko I need another guard to bring down the ball para magkaroon ng kaunting breather si Pinto pagbaba ng bola. We were able to manage yung shot clock."
(It was hard because Pinto was exhausted bringing down the ball. I thought I need another guard to bring down the ball so that Pinto will get a breather once the ball is across.)
Pinto struggled with just 9 points on 4-of-12 field goal shooting, while Jalalon managed 13 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and a couple of thefts in 22 minutes on the floor.
Meanwhile, Racal led the Knights with his splendid 14 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists in a losing cause that left last season's finalists with a 2-5 win-loss slate.
Mark Cruz chipped in 12 markers and 4 assists as well.
Arellano (63): Agovida 14, Jalalon 13, Pinto 9, Holts 9, Enriquez 8, Nicholls 3, Gumaru 2, Palma 2, Caperal 2, Hernandez 1, Salcedo 0, CiriaCruz 0, Bangga 0, Ortega 0.
Letran (62): Racal 14, Cruz 12, Nambatac 9, Ruaya 8, Publico 7, Dela Peña 4, Castro 3, Gabawan 3, Singontiko 2, Calvo 0, Tambeling 0, Apreku 0, Quinto 0.
Quarter scores: 8-16, 31-34, 48-49, 63-62.