Pinto closes door on Benilde, maintains NCAA 2nd seed
MANILA, Philippines — It would be a senior who closes the door on the raging upstarts.
With a game all but lost, Arellano University Chief John Pinto would deliver the knockout blow in the death of time against the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 67-66, at the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan Friday evening.
Chiefs center Dioncee Holts went to the free throw line after recovering a miss with 3.1 seconds remaining and Arellano trailing, 66-64.
Holts made the first but missed the second charity but Pinto dashed from the three-point line to sky above the timbers and give his team the victory and a 7-2 slate.
Surprised with his miracle shot, Pinto said he put into fate’s hands the shot that would shut the door against the Blazers.
“My layups were going out and I wanted to redeem myself,” the outgoing Pinto said. “When I shot it I just thought ‘alright it’s all up to You.'”
Arellano head coach Jerry Codiñera said that the team thought that the game against the struggling Blazers, which goes to fifth seed with a 4-4 mark, would be a breeze.
“It was super close, we thought that this game would be a walk in the park,” Codiñera said.
Codiñera added that he did not expect the second seed behind San Beda College, and that he would use his players to the flow of the game.
“Read the game, follow the instinct,” Codiñera said who used all of his 15 players in the match.
Holts said that throughout the game, and the season, they would follow their leader Pinto.
CSB had a three-point bubble with 25 seconds remaining, 65-62, until a Keith Agovida tip-in cut it to one, 65-64.
Blazers wingman would go to the free-throw line with 16.5 seconds remaining but would split his free throws, 66-64.
Paolo Taha would get another chance after a Chiefs lane violation but he would botch it.
Pinto led the way for the Chiefs with 19 points with Jiovani Jalalon coming in as second fiddle with 12.
Blazers forward Mark Romero led CSB with 21 points with Taha and Jonathan Grey adding 16 and 13, respectively.
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