The Arellano University Chiefs warded off a late surge from the College of Saint Benilde Blazers to claim its second win in Group B of the 2017 FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup, 67-63, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The win lifted Arellano to 2-4, while eliminating Benilde in the quarterfinal picture at 1-6 record.
Big man Lervin Flores finished with a huge output of 16 points, nine rebounds, and six blocks. Kramiel Villoria carried the play-making duties as Kent Salado was nursing a minor injury, with five assists and 14 markers.
“Anything that will give us a positive step is always a welcome note for us and we’re embracing that,” said Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera.
It was the Blazers which started the game well, but the Chiefs limited the former to 25 percent shooting from the outside, to take the lead at 36-31 at the half.
The Intramuros-based squad took care of seven-point leads in the second half before the Blazers cut the deficit to slimmest at one, 42-43, with a Clement Leutcheu basket a minute left in the third.
The teams could have started at a deadlock at 49 before the payoff period, if not for Mike Cañete’s jumper.
The Chiefs’ lead ballooned to 10, after a trey off Brylle Meca and a Kramiel Villoria jumper, 65-55, 2:05 left in the match.
The Blazers unleashed an 8-2 run to go to within four. Back-to-back three-point plays from the Taft-based squad, a trey from Dino San Juan and an and-one from JJ Domingo put them to two at 63-65, but Flores punctuated his monster game with a clutch jumper.
“Horrible yung turnovers namin, pero I’ll find a way pa rin para mag-improve kami,” Codinera added.
Leutcheu starred for Benilde with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while San Juan is the only other Blazer in double-digit points with 10.
The Chiefs will take on the Mapua University (4-1) on Wednesday, June 7, at 11:15 am, while the Blazers will face the National University (3-3) on Sunday, June 11, at 1pm.
AU (67) – Flores 16, Villoria 14, Nicholls 9, Enriquez 6, Meca 6, Canete 6, Taywan 5, Rivera 3, Ongolo Ongolo 1, Abanes 1, Salado 0, Concepcion 0, Aguilar 0, De Guzman 0, Padilla 0, Chavez 0, Filart 0.
CSB (63) – Leutcheu 17, San Juan 10, Pili 6, Belgica 6, Naboa 5, Haruna 4, Mercado 4, JJ Domingo 3, Dixon 3, Sta. Maria 2, Johnson 2, Velasco 1, Castor 0, Young 0, Bunyi 0.
Quarterscores: 13-10, 36-31, 51-49, 67-63.