UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help built a big cushion early and held its ground in the end to subdue Arellano University, 73-66, last night in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena.
Rookie Juneric Baloria again took charge with 21 points but it was Chrisper Elopre’s long-range firepower that helped propel the Altas to their second straight win following a disputed overtime loss last week to the San Sebastian Stags.
Elopre’s back-to-back threes in the closing minutes of the third period pushed the Altas ahead by 15 before the victors deflected a ferocious assault by the Chiefs to forge a tie for second spot at 4-1 with idle defending champion San Beda.
Idle Letran shows the way with four wins in as many outings. The Knights will try to make it five in a row when they battle Lyceum tomorrow.
Perpetual Help coach Aric Del Rosario was all praise for power forward Harold Arboleda, who threw his weight in the paint by grabbing 20 rebounds apart from scoring nine points.
“He’s my silent killer,” said Del Rosario in Filipino, referring to the 6-foot-3 Hotel and Restaurant Management major.
“Harold knows how to score and, at the same time, play tough defense. He’s also my stopper against the shooters of the opposing team.”
Steadier in the end
Later, San Sebastian proved steadier down the stretch and slipped past St. Benilde, 80-78, to gain a share of fourth spot with Jose Rizal University.
Leo de Vera nailed two free throws with 31 seconds remaining after teammate Jovit dela Cruz scored on a layup and a steal as the Stags completed a stirring comeback inside the final minute for its third win in five outings.
It was another heartbreaking loss for the Blazers who have now dropped their fifth game of the tournament by a combined margin of seven points.
The Blazers have never lost by more than two points.
Holding a three-point edge at halftime, the Altas outscored the Chiefs, 21-9, to surge to a 62-47 lead.
Levi Hernandez and Allen Enriquez then conspired with Nard John Pinto to pull the Chiefs within nine, time down to less than three minutes.
But the Altas countered behind Nicholas Omorogbe and Baloria, who scored successive baskets that pegged the final count.
Pinto had eight of his team-high 17 points in the fourth for the Chiefs, who absorbed their third setback in five games.
Staglets down Greenies
Earlier, Ryan Paule Costelo scored 12 points and Rhanzelle Yong added 10 as the San Sebastian Staglets downed the La Salle Green Hills Greenies, 62-52, for their fifth straight win and a tie with the unbeaten San Beda Red Cubs at the top of the junior standings.
The Greenies lost their first game in four outings.
The University of Perpetual Help Altalettes leaned on Sir Shaquille Imperial’s 30 points to edge the Arellano Braves, 75-73, for their third victory in five outings. The Braves dropped to 1-4.
Seniors First Game
PERPETUAL 73—Baloria 21, Alano 15, Elopre 12, Arboleda 9, Omorogbe 7, Thompson 7, Oliveria 2, Dizon 0, Ylagan 0, Bantayan 0.
ARELLANO 66—Pinto 17, Hernandez 11, Agovida 9, Enriquez 8, Caperal 6, Forrester 6, Nicholls 3, Jalalon 2, Salcedo 2, Gumaru 2, Bangga 0, Margallo 0, Cadavis 0.
Quarters: 22-14, 41-38, 62-47, 73-66
Seniors Second Game
SAN SEBASTIAN 80—Ortuoste 23, Perez 17, Dela Cruz 12, De Vera 8, Tano 7, Guinto 6, Gusi 3, Rebollos 2, Vergara 2, Balucanag 0, Magno 0.
ST. BENILDE 78—Taha 21, Grey 17, Bartolo 12, Romero 10, Ongteco 7, Sinco 6, Garcia 3, Deles 2, Jonson 0, Saavedra 0, Argamino 0.
Quarters: 16-14, 36-35, 56-58, 80-78