SAN JUAN City – Hustle in the dying seconds saved the day as Matthew Aquino hit the go-ahead basket off a rebound scramble as National University outlasted Arellano University, 68-65, and claim the top seeding in Group A of the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup Sunday afternoon at the San Juan Arena. The Bulldogs finished with a 6-1 win-loss card while the loss relegated the now 5-2 Chiefs to the third spot.
Dioncee Holts gave Arellano the upper hand for the last time via a side jumper with 34 seconds to go, 65-63. Alfred Aroga then drew a foul, making his first but missing his second attempt to put National within, 65-65.
The loose ball eventually landed into the hands Aquino who popped in the two points with exactly 13 seconds to play, 66-65. Cedric Labing-isa then stole the ball, forcing Kent Salado to give up back-to-back fouls to send Labing-isa to the free throw stripe for two insurance free throws, 68-65.
The Chiefs had one last chance but Holts’ desperation heave went nowhere. Arellano ended up tied with idle University of Perpetual Help in the standings but the Altas won the tiebreak owing to their 80-72 win in their elimination round meeting last May 13.
“We struggled all game on offense, good thing our defense held up,” said Coach Eric Altamirano. “We just fpcused on what we are good at and we made sure we won the battle for the rebounds.
Matt Salem led the Bulldogs with 15 points and five rebounds. Chino Mosqueda was next with 11 points.
Jiovani Jalalon had an amazing effort of 26 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals but lacked support from his teammates. Holts followed with nine points and five rebounds.
The Bulldogs will now await either Ateneo de Manila or the winner of the Adamson University-University of the East tussle as their quarterfinal opponent. The Chiefs will tangle with defending champion San Beda College.
How They Scored:
NATIONAL (68) – Salem 15, Mosqueda 11, Abatayo 7, Aroga 7, Labing-isa 6, Gallego 6, Aquino 6, Diputado 4, Salim 4, Morido 2, Lastimosa 0, Yu 0, Go 0.
ARELLANO (65) – Jalalon 24, Holts 9, Canete 6, Villoria 5, Flores 5, Gumaru 4, Nicholls 2, Enriquez 2, Cadavis 2, Alcoriza 2, Gupilan 2, Aguilar 2, Rivera 0, Meca 0, Ongolo-Ongolo 0, Salado 0.
Period Scores: 11-18, 28-29, 48-48, 68-65.