PASAY CITY – Arellano University completed a mind-boggling return over defending champion San Beda College-Rizal in the fourth period to force a deciding match for a Finals berth in the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Juniors Division at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday (September 30). Final score was 89-84 in favor of the Braves.
Trailing by as much as 17 and with the Red Cubs firmly in control through the first three periods, the Braves mounted their final push in the fourth patiently gnawing away at the Red Cubs’ lead. Carlo Abadeza barrelled his way to the hoop for the go-ahead field goal with 1:37 remaining after which they immediately forced a turnover that led to an unmolested layup by Jayson Danas for an 85-82 tally.
Joshua Tagala pulled SBC closer with a basket but this was quickly neutralized by two pressure free throws by Danas, 87-84, and 11 seconds to play. The Red Cubs called a timeout and tried one last roll but Evan Nelle missed his desperation triple forcing them to foul Ira Batiller.
Batiller though succumbed to the pressure as he missed both his gift shots to slightly open the window for SBC. However, the rebound went the way of the Braves and Danas was fouled again and iced the game with two more free throws.
“We know we were the only team to defeat San Beda in the eliminations,” said Coach Tylon Dar Juan. “Perhaps all our losses in the second round were meant to prepare us for the playoffs.”
The Braves inflicted the only loss on the Red Cubs, 93-90, last August 1. The loss prevented what could have been an 18-game elimination round sweep and an outright finals berth for Red Cubs.
Lars Sunga led the way for Arellano with 16 points and eight rebounds. Guilmer de la Torre and Aaron Fermin followed with 15 points each with Fermin hauling 13 rebounds.
The trio of Robi Nayve, Prince Etrata and Samuel Abuhijle paced San Beda with 15 markers each. Abuhijle stamped his class underneath with 25 rebounds and two blocks.
The decider will be played on October 4 (Tuesday) still at the MOA Arena. The other semifinal series is between Malayan High School of Science and La Salle Green Hills.
How They Scored:
ARELLANO (89) – Sunga 16, de la Torre 15, Fermin 15, Abadeza 14, Danas 10, Batiller 7, Espiritu 5, Tamayo 3, Domingo 2, Velasco 1, Dulatre 1, Dimaunahan 0, Fornis 0, de Leon 0, Camarillo 0.
SAN BEDA-RIZAL (84) – Nayve 15, Etrata 15, Abuhijle 15, Tagala 8, Mahinay 8, Nelle 6, de la Rosa 6, Obenza 5.Alfaro 2, Lagumen 2, Garcia 2, Barbero 0.
Period Scores: 18-25, 37-49, 60-64, 89-84.