Lervin Flores provided a strong and steady presence inside the paint as Arellano survived a flat start to subdue Perpetual Help, 62-52, and keep its Final Four hopes alive last Thursday in NCAA Season 93 basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Missing the injured Kent Salado, the Chiefs found a savior in the bull-strong Flores, who scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half as Arellano moved up to with an 8-9 record behind Letran in the race for the last Final Four berth.
Flores’ stellar first half gave the Chiefs a lift when they needed it the most after Arellano went scoreless for almost seven minutes to start the game.
Salado, the Chiefs’ leading scorer with 18 points a game this season, has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament due to a knee injury (medial collateral ligament) he sustained in the victory over San Sebastian last Tuesday.
“There is newfound confidence within the team, knowing that we can win without him (Salado),” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera. “We started bad. But when Flores made his first basket, things tapered off especially our doubts and apprehensions in the game.”
Later, St. Benilde dragged Emilio Aguinaldo College out of Final Four contention with a 94-84 overtime victory.
Clement Leutcheu finished with 24 points while Ed Dixon had 19 for the Blazers who turned their game up a notch in the extra period while the Generals faded.
Sidney Onwubere sent the game to overtime with a triple with 19 seconds left in regulation, but the Generals were made to bleed for their points in overtime, leading to their 11th loss in 17 games.