Arellano finally gets a win at the expense of Letran in 88th NCAABy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines – Determined to finally get into the winning ways, Arellano put on a tough stand against favorite Letran en route to a 77-67 victory Saturday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Chiefs put aside the effects of a horrendous 0-3 start, as they dominated the Knights from the tip-off and never relinquished the lead for their first win in four games.
But it was Fil-Canadian James Forrester who made the difference for Arellano, finally showcasing his offensive prowess with 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from downtown.
Forrester, one of the 11 newcomers in the Chiefs’ line up, also showed composure after knocking down a dagger of a triple with under three minutes left which doused the Knights’ uprising.
“He’s the guy [to give credit for],” said head coach Koy Banal, who got his first win in the collegiate level after a six-year break, of Forrester.
Three more rookies paced Arellano as John Bangga chipped in 13 points, Julius Cadavis 11, and John Pinto with 10 points, four assists and three steals.
A basket by Cadavis gave the Chiefs a 15-point edge, the biggest of the game, in the third quarter – which helped them wither the Knights’ comeback.
Behind leader Kevin Alas and diminutive guard Mark Cruz, Letran slashed down the lead to two, 64-66, with over three minutes in the game.
But Alas, who had 22 points, six assists, a steal along three blocks, couldn’t buy a needed three-pointer despite the wide-open looks and Letran absorbed its first defeat of the season.