Coming off a loss to San Beda, the Arellano University Chiefs bounced back in a big way, pounding the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 95-65, Thursday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The win lifted Arellano’s slate to 6-9, tied for sixth with the EAC Generals and two full games behind fourth-running Letran Knights.
“Malaki ang game na ito para sa amin, kasi hindi mo pa alam ang mangyayari sa games ng third-placer, which is I think JRU, so kami lang, lahat ng mga assignments namin, we just have to close it, talunin namin,” said Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera.
Arellano ace Kent Salado posted a double-double in the game, orchestrating the romping with 16 points and 11 assists.
“Expected naman sa kanya ‘yun. He had a good start, talagang matured na rin si Kent. Maganda rin ang support group, nag-respond,” Codinera added about his floor general.
It was Rence Alcoriza who provided the spark for the Chiefs, erupting for nine of his 11 points in the opening frame, to give Arellano a 28-16 lead.
Lervin Flores added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Zach Nicholls and Richard Abanes sustained Arellano’s strong start, scoring a combined 24 points in the second half to help give Arellano a game-high 30-point lead to close out the contest.
With just three games left in their calendar, Codinera is still hopeful that last season’s runners-up can make it to the Final Four.
“Actually if we end up nine wins, baka kami pa ang mag-third,” the Defensive Minister added.
Kendrix Belgica finished with 18 points for the 3-12 Blazers, while JJ Domingo added 14 markers. However, the Blazers allowed the Chiefs to shoot 50 percent from the field, including 12 three-pointers that led to their demise.
Arellano will next face the San Sebastian Stags on Tuesday, October 10, at 4:00pm. Benilde, on the other hand, take on the EAC Generals on Thursday, October 12, at 4:00pm.
AU 95 – Salado 16, Nicholls 13, Flores 12, Abanes 11, Alcoriza 11, Dela Cruz 11, Viloria 8, Cañete 4, Enriquez 4, Meca 3, Padilla 2, Concepcion 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Taywan 0, Filart 0.
CSB 65 – Belgica 18, Domingo 14, Naboa 8, Dixon 5, Leutcheu 5, San Juan 4, Johnson 3, Sta. Maria 3, Young 3, Pili 2, Castor 0, Suarez 0, Velasco 0.
Quarterscores: 28-16, 47-33, 69-50, 95-65.