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San Beda repulses late Arellano run, inches closer to NCAA title

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By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—San Beda survived a second half surge from Arellano to take Game 1 of the NCAA men's basketball finals with an 88-85 win at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.

Robert Bolick scored a fastbreak layup with 1:16 left that helped save the Red Lions from completely blowing an 13-point lead.

San Beda opened the second half on an 8-0 run to open a 62-49 lead, but Arellano recovered and eventually chopped the lead to as low as one, 70-69, at the end of the third quarter.

The Red Lions looked to pull away again, stretching the lead to six, 79-73, with 7:08 to go in the game.

But the Chiefs went on a 9-1 run capped by a go-ahead layup by Dioncee Holts to go up, 82-80, with 4:30 left.

San Beda reclaimed the lead, 84-82, through four straight points with 3:06 remaining. Kent Salado only made one free throw out of three off a foul from deep, but Lervin Flores, after a stop, scored on a layup to put Arellano up, 85-84, with 2:12 to go.

Flores failed to capitalize on another Arellano defensive gem, and Bolick went all alone for the layup for an 86-85 San Beda lead with 1:16 remaining.

The Chiefs had a chance to steal the win, but Holts missed on a jumper with five seconds left and Bolick added two more from the line with 3.7 seconds to go.

Jio Jalalon's desperation heave from near half-court rimmed out as the buzzer sounded. Bolick finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and one assist. Not scoring a single point in the second half of both San Beda's semifinal games against Perpetual Help, he had eight in the last 20 minutes in Game 1 including six in the payoff period.

Ben Adamos added 16 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal. Dan Sara came close to a triple-double with 13 rebounds, 11 assists, and six points.

Jalalon led Arellano with 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals, but he committed five turnovers.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno