By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
HARDLY having a solid run in the ongoing National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament, the Arellano Chiefs are training their sights on a mini win streak when they collide with the struggling Mapua Cardinals in league action today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Victorious in their previous game against erstwhile rolling Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers, 115-109, in double overtime, the Chiefs (4-6) look to fashion out a rare string of victories for them in Season 93 in their 2 p.m. set-to with the Cardinals (1-10), who have lost nine straight games.
Playing in the 4 p.m. match, meanwhile, are season hosts San Sebastian Stags against the Perpetual Help Altas.
Against the Heavy Bombers last week, Arellano, losing finalist in Season 92, saw itself needing to dig deep anew to stave off JRU while giving its NCAA second-round campaign a push.
In the first round, the two teams also fought in overtime with the Chiefs wounding up triumphant, 73-72.
Arellano was seemingly on its way to the victory last time around until JRU guard Teytey Teodoro decided to crash things with clutch back-to-back triples as regulation expired, 83-all.
In the first OT, the Chiefs turned things around, spoiling the party for JRU as Arellano shooting guard Zach Nichols drained a key triple to send the game to another extension, 100-all.
In the second extra period, however, the Chiefs were not to be denied of the win as more players joined in the fray which the Heavy Bombers could not match up with, giving the Arellano the victory.
Rence Alcoriza came off the bench to top-score for Arellano with 23 points while big man Lervin Flores had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Floor leader Kent Salado also had 17 markers to go along with seven assists.
Marwin Taywan and Michael Canete were also in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively, for the Chiefs, who moved to joint sixth place after the victory.
“It was a crazy game with both teams having their spurts. Good thing we made the stops in the end to come out with the win,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera following their hard-earned win.
“This is a big win for us and we hope this will start something big for us,” he added.
GET SOME BREAK
Much like Arellano, Mapua is out to get some break from the major slump it has been in all season long.
After barging into the win column in their second game, it has been all downhill for the Cardinals, who have been struggling with players being injured as well as red-shirting this season.
The latest loss of Mapua was dealt by the defending champions San Beda Red Lions, 88-70, last Friday.
Meanwhile, in the second game, San Sebastian (5-5) shoots for an above .500 mark in the standings against Perpetual Help (4-6), itself looking to give its NCAA campaign a shot in the arm halfway into it.