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Arellano overcomes another Rivero explosion, ousts LSGH

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--In a relatively quiet game for Carlo Abadeza, Arellano banked on the heroics of Guilmer Dela Torre to eliminate La Salle Greenhills, 75-74, in the first round of the NCAA juniors basketball stepladder playoffs at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.

Dela Torre swished in 20 points, but none was more important than the last two points off free throws that eventually handed the Braves the win that put to naught another hot scoring from Ricci Rivero.

They slowly chipped away the Greenies' lead and eventually took a 73-70 lead late in the fourth quarter.

But Rivero tallied back-to-back baskets to give LSGH a 74-73 advantage.

Dela Torre put Arellano back on top with his pair of charities with 41.7 seconds left in the match, and those eventually gave the team the win as LSGH failed to scored afterward.

Dela Torre added five rebounds and three assists, while Abadeza, a former Greenie who moved to the Braves side, only had 12 points but was efficient with 11 rebounds, one assist, and four blocks.

Rivero, who saw his prolific high school career coming to an end, finished with 31 points, but he was 12-of-30 from the field and had nine turnovers.

The win set up a battle between the Braves and the Malayan Red Robins on Tuesday for the right to face the San Beda Red Cubs in the finals.

Box Scores:

Arellano 75—Dela Torre 20, Sunga 14, Abadeza 12, Espiritu 7, Danas 7, Bataller 6, Fornis 4, Tamayo 3, Calapine 2

LSGH 74—Rivero 31, Velasco 10, Pagulayan 9, Manuel 9, Madrigal 8, Herrera 5, Ollano 2, Pedrosa 0, Boo 0

Quarterscores: 15-20, 40-43, 61-61, 75-74