Chiefs snap three-game slide to fan play-in hopes
Since hurting his right knee in the opener, Arellano slotman Justin Arana has sported a brace every single game.
But on Sunday against Mapua, the 6-foot-7 from Basud, Camarines Norte, forgot to pack it inside his bag on the way to La Salle Greenhills.
“It was already prepared with my things but I forgot to bring it,” said Arana in Filipino. “For sure, I will never hear the end of it from my managers.”
Maybe not. Because as things went Arana, who was feared to have torn his ACL in that game, appears to have no need to wear the contraption anymore the way he played.
He unloaded 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in powering the Chiefs to a 72-63 victory over the Cardinals, breaking their three-game losing spell and handing their opponents their second consecutive defeat.
Later, San Sebastian snapped a two-game losing skid after beating Lyceum, 83-71, with 6-foot-6 forward JM Calma scoring 23 points as the Stags upped their record to 2-3, while inflicting the Pirates their fourth loss in five games.
“I’m very happy because we came from three straight loss, we really worked hard for this. We know Mapua is a physical team,” said Arana, who also had three blocks and three assists.
Jordan Sta. Ana and Art Oliva helped him out with 15 and 10 points, respectively, as the Chiefs improved to 2-3.
“Our coaches reminded us that we can’t sink any lower, we have no way to go but up,” added Arana. “Good thing my teammates stepped up and we were able to execute what we did in practice.”
The Cardinals, who had a 3-0 start, came within 62-60 with four minutes to go after an Adrian Nocum jumper.
That’s when Sta. Ana and Arana pressed on with six unanswered points as the win kept alive the Chiefs’ hopes of making it to the Play-In which takes in only the top six teams after the single-round eliminations. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.