by Mark Mañez
Game Schedule today:
12:00 nn - MU Cardinals vs CSB Blazers
2:00 pm - LPU Pirates vs JRU Heavy Bombers
4:00 pm - SSC-R Stags vs CSJL Knights
Legarda, Manila - Levi Dela Cruz provided the clutch as the Arellano Chiefs needed five more minutes to stave off the EAC Generals, 75-69, at the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball Tournament, Thursday evening.
He finished with 12 markers, including seven in the final three minutes of overtime to give coach Jerry Codiñera's Chiefs its debut win after nearly three weeks of weather delays.
Dela Cruz also led three other Chiefs in double figures, much to the delight of the raucious Arellano University crowd.
Holding a precarious five-point halftime advantage, they survived several EAC attempts of putting the game on the breakaway.
“We’re thankful that we have guards who would help fill the big vacuum left by (Kent) Salado and Levi was one of them,” said AU coach Jerry Codiñera. “It was also a big factor that EAC missed a lot of foul shots, it really helped us a lot.”
Adrian Alban forced extra time with a tough fall away on the right baseline, sending the crowd in wild frenzy.
The Generals on the other hand, flubbed 29 of their 46 charity tries. They shot 37% as against Arellano's 53% (on 15-for-28 shooting clip).
EAC further saw Maui Cruz, Jess Bautista and Hamadou Laminou's efforts of an upheaval fizzle down in extra period. The trio combined for 42 points and 30 rebounds in the loss.
Meanwhile, Romuel Junsay spewed fire on both ends as the Braves completed a cliffhanger 79-77 knockout blow over the ICA Brigadiers.
Junsay, the former Malayan Red Robin unloaded a career-best 34 markers (24 in the second half) in 33 minutes of action. he also filled his stat line with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
The Brigadiers opened fire on all angles, disrupting the Braves' offensive rhythm and rested on a dozen-point cushion after 10 minutes of play.
The lead, at one point, swelled to 21 points, 33-12 before the hosts staged a monumental comeback.
Big man Aaron Fermin terrorized the shaded lane, ramming 23 caroms in addition to his 10-point production whole game long.
Marlon Espiritu and Lars Sunga also were a huge factor for the Braves, chipping in 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Cjay Boado's 23-point offensive for the Brigadiers went into futility after the loss.
Box Scores (Juniors):
Arellano Braves  - Junsay 34, Espiritu 13, Fermin 10, Sunga 10, Somingo 5, Tolentino 3, Fornis 2, Templonuevo 1, Sahali 1, Lingco 0, Nepomuceno 0, Cabili 0, Recto 0.
ICA Brigadiers  - Boado 23, Balowa 19, Sumagaysay 11, Ilustrimo 11, Sanosa 4, Lozano 2, Pascual 2, Quebral 2, Rodrin 2, Encila 1, Murillo 0, Calara 0, Rivera 0, Papa 0.
Quarter Scores: 12-24, 27-42, 56-57, 79-77.
Box Scores (Seniors):
Arellano Ciefs  - Concepcion 15, Alban 13, Alcoriza 12, Dela Cruz 12, Viloria 9, Cañete 7, Meca 4, Sera Josef 2, Dela Torre 1, Abdurasad 0, Bayla 0, Codiñera 0, Ongulo Ongulo 0, Sacramento 0, Santos 0.
EAC Generals  - Bautista 14, Cruz 14, Laminou 14, Garcia 7, Mendoza 7, Natividad 5, Robin 4, Diego 2, Magullano 2, Bugarin 0, Cadua 0, Gonzales 0, Neri 0, Tampoa 0.
Quarter Scores: 20-13, 31-26, 49-48, 63-63, 75-69
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