Arellano scores 40-point win over Mapua; Banal looking ahead
MANILA, Philippines – Arellano breathed life into its flatlining Final Four bid with a 115-75 romp of listless Mapua in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Saturday night at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Behind the hot shooting of skipper James Forrester and Levi Hernandez, who combined for 11-of-16 from the three-point area, the Chiefs went on to set highest point total by a team in a single game and also the most lopsided win this season.
“Perhaps our battle cry is finishing strong. We don’t want to quit. It’s a natural tendency for a person to get out and just quit if there is nothing going your way,” said Arellano coach Koy Banal.
Forrester set the tone with 16 of his 19 points coming in the first half, where Arellano had established a 21-point advantage, 56-35.
The Chiefs, who also drew a solid performance from its big man Prince Caperal with 20 points, showed no let-up in the second half with Hernandez heating up en route to a 28-point night built on six-of-eight three-pointers.
The win improved Arellano’s card to 5-9 and Banal admitted that with his team still four places out of a semifinals slot, it’s going to be tough for the Chiefs, who led by as much as 43 points, 110-67, to make the playoffs.
“As far as we’re concerned, we don’t know our future but our target is to make it to the top six to make it to the PCCL,” said Banal whose squad shot the lights out with a 59% shooting clip from the field.
“Maybe there might be a team that will trip. Who knows,” added Banal.
Graduating forward Kenneth Ighalo was the lone bright spot for the Cardinals, whose 28 turnovers resulted into 34 easy points for the Chiefs.
But not even Ighalo’s game-highs of 29 points and 13 rebounds could stop the bleeding for Mapua, which staggered to its 12th straight setback for a woeful 1-13 mark.
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