Wanting to end their NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball campaign strong, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals built a big enough lead to hold off the Arellano University Chiefs, 78-70, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
This is EAC’s second straight win to go to 4-12. Moreover, the Generals dragged down the Chiefs to 4-11 to end their Final Four hopes.
“Ang maganda ngayon ay cohesive na kami. Ang sabi ko sa kanila, they have to step up and play for the fans,” said third-year Generals head coach Ariel Sison. “Sana tuloy tuloy pa. We still have three games.”
That unity showed in the first half as Jerome Garcia and JP Magullano took turns in punishing the Chiefs’ defense, combining for 30 points in the first 20 minutes of the game — the same total output of the entire Arellano team. EAC led by as much as 19 points in the first half.
“Ang goal namin is makasungkit lang kami ng mga panalo. Every practice namin, one-hundred percent pa rin binibigay namin,” said Garcia as their Final Four hopes have been dashed two weeks ago.
Ian Alban and Levi dela Cruz though did not go down easily. The two slowly sliced the deficit down to as low as six points, 66-72. It did not help that the Generals committed turnovers, settled for the outside shot, and missed free throws.
“We don’t look at the scoreboard talaga e. Yun yung nangyari nung tumingin na sila sa scoreboard,” added Sison.
Garcia did not allow a meltdown to happen, knocking down a cold-blooded triple with 1:31 left to buck the Chiefs.
“Pero sa akin naman, ganun talaga yung basketball. Ang importante lang ay nanalo kami and we were able to withstand that rally,” expressed Sison.
Garcia led EAC with 25 points with six rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. Magullano finished with 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting and 10 rebounds while Hamadou Laminou tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.
Interim Arellano head coach Junjie Ablan fell to 0-3 since taking over last September 21.
Dela Cruz and Ablan finished with 15 and 14 points respectively.
EAC looks to make it three in a row when it faces the Mapua Cardinals on Friday, October 5 while Arellano takes on the JRU Heavy Bombers on the same day.
EAC 78 — Garcia 25, Magullano 15, Laminou 14, Bautista 6, Neri 6, Bugarin 4, Mendoza 3, Gonzales 2, Tampoc 2, Corilla 1, Cadua 0, Diego 0.
AU 70 — Dela Cruz 15, Alban 14, Dela Torre 12, Concepcion 10, Alcoriza 6, Bayla 4, Canete 4, Sacramento 2, Ongolo Ongolo 1, Viloria 1, Segura 1, Sera Josef 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11, 48-30, 63-50, 78-70.