Cards shock Stags; Chiefs clobber AltasBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ROOKIE John Pinto provided the flash of inspiration as Arellano dumped Perpetual Help, 63-54, last night to snap a two-game slide in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena.
Picking up the slack as his teammates continued to struggle, the stocky guard from Davao pumped in 15 points, grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds and dished out six assists as the Chiefs improved to 3-5.
Later, a shorthanded Mapua squad stunned San Sebastian, 61-54, to complete a day of upsets.
The Cardinals, missing three key reserves, hung on in the face of a furious Stags run in the last three minutes to arrest a three-game tailspin.
Josan Nimes and Mike Parala delivered the baskets that gave the Cardinals enough cushion to stave off a late surge by the Stags, who cut a 14-point deficit to four with 30 seconds remaining.
It was San Sebastian’s first loss after six consecutive wins and the Stags’ second overall, counting their opening-day loss to Letran.
More than his scoring, it was Pinto’s hustle that helped propel the Chiefs, who outscored the Altas, 14-4, in the last five minutes, to pull off the upset.
“Coach (Koy Banal) wants me to step up because some of my teammates are injured,” said Pinto, a transferee from Holy Cross Davao. “We want to end the first round strong.”
The Chiefs were also looking to lift the spirits of Banal, who is coach Tim Cone’s lead assistant in the B-Meg team that lost Game 7 of the PBA Governors Cup to Rain or Shine barely 24 hours before the game.
“I’m happy the players responded to the challenge,” said Banal. “At the very least, I feel better (after the Game 7 loss).”
The loss snapped a two-game winning run for the Altas, who ended the first round with a 6-3 card.
The Altas came into the game with a reputation as a tough team to put away down the stretch, having won three games under three points or less.
The Senior scores:
ARELLANO 63—Pinto 15, Caperal 11, Cadavis 8, Zulueta 8, Forrester 6, Acidre 5, Hernandez 4, Salcedo 4, Bangga 2, Espiras 0.
PERPETUAL HELP 54—Babayemi 13, Vidal 13, Thompson 8, Arboleda 8, Omorogbe 4, Allen 4, Elopre 4, Paulino 0, Jolangcob 0, Alano 0.
Quarters: 10-16, 28-27, 46-44, 63-54