NCAA: Chiefs pin fifth straight defeat on cold Knights | Inquirer Sports

NCAA: Chiefs pin fifth straight defeat on cold Knights

Paolo Hernandez of Mapua (with the ball) and Brianne Angeles of EAC in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament.

Paolo Hernandez of Mapua (with the ball) and Brianne Angeles of EAC in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Arellano caught one of several big targets on Sunday, and rookie coach Chico Manabat hopes that a stunning victory over defending champion Letran turns the rest of their NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament fortunes around.

“We have a goal, we call them big fish which are the schools in the final four,” Manabat said after an 87-80 nipping of the Knights at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City. “I told [my players] that we have nothing to lose as long as we keep on fighting.


“I would like to commend my players for giving their best.”


The Chiefs rose to 1-4 with that win and avoided being the side that the Knights conquered first as Letran dropped to 0-5.

Felix Villarente finished with 15 points and six assists and led the Chiefs. He hit the go-ahead triple from the top of the arc before sinking a layup to widen Arellano’s lead, 72-68, and basically doom the Knights.

Clint Escamis delivered big on both ends in the clutch as Mapua took a 73-69 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo that gave the Cardinals a piece of second place in the eliminations.

Two-way hero

Escamis broke up a crucial EAC offensive with an interception and later on sealed the win-sealing free throws as Mapua rose to 4-1, tied with Jose Rizal.Arellano has a rookie-heavy roster, with some of them still nursing injuries that have made it difficult for the Chiefs to adjust.

“But the season is still long and the NCAA has a lot of surprises. We are doing everything to improve and what’s important is we are fighting together even if no one believes in us,” Manabat said. “We are doing this to improve ourselves and become a stronger team.”

Manabat praised the efforts of his go-to point guard Villarente that helped give him a first coaching win, which was seen by his wife, Akari stalwart from the Premier Volleyball League, Dindin Santiago, and 7-year-old daughter at the sidelines.


Troy Valencia chipped in 14 points coming off the bench, while Jade Talampas added 11 and eight boards for the Chiefs. INQ

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