Jose Rizal University staged a late rally but fell short in denying Arellano University an ego-boosting 85-82 win yesterday, giving the Chiefs a positive start in the second round of the NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Rocky Acidre capped his 22 points with two clutch free throws in the last 8.2 seconds to key the Chiefs’ fourth triumph in 10 games.
But the Bombers did not fade just as quick as they tried to extend the game. Unfortunately, though, Nate Matute’s desperation triple went wide.
Jose Rizal dropped into a tie at second place with idle San Sebastian College at 7-3, leaving defending champion San Beda College alone on top with an 8-2 card.
Arellano bounced back from a 49-68 loss to Mapua at the end of the first half, where coach Koy Banal blamed himself for the defeat.
“It hurts. After the game, we had sleepless nights because we scored only three points in the fourth quarter (against the Cardinals). Hindi ang players ang may kasalanan, it was me,” said Banal.
“The goal today was to stay positive on this game. We stayed positive from start to finish,” he added.
With Acidre waxing hot in the three-point area, the Chiefs took a 73-62 advantage, with 6:58 remaining.
But the Bombers were not yet done as the Mandaluyong-based cagers mounted a 20-10 exchange, capped by a rare four-point play by Byron Villarias off an Julius Cadavis foul to move closer to 82-83, with 15 seconds remaining.
Nard Pinto chipped in 16 points and seven assists before leaving the game in the last three minutes due to cramps for Arellano, which also drew 16 points from James Forrester.
Matute led Jose Rizal with 21 points, while Villarias added 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
In the juniors division, Robert Bolick had a triple-double with a tournament-best 41 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as CSB-La Salle Greenhills drubbed the Perpetual Help Junior Altas, 95-76, to improve its record to 7-3.
Nick Abanto and Ginno Abrew combined for 32 points to lift the Jose Rizal Light Bombers slipped past the Arellano Braves, 53-48, and tied their victims at 4-6.