KAPAMPANGAN rookie transferee Jerald Lapuz is starting to display his wares in the 86th NCAA men’s basketball tournament after the league picked him as the best player of the week.

Lapuz went into a scoring rampage, producing an impressive 29-point output and 10 rebounds, to lift Arellano University last Friday against Letran College, 78-76.

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With his unparalleled performance, the 6-foot-2 cager earned the Accel/Filoil NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week award, besting San Sebastian's Calvin “The Beast” Abueva and Ronald Pascual and San Beda's Sudan Daniel.

"We expect him to have a game like this," said Arellano coach Leo Isaac, whose squad climb up to solo fifth with three wins and five losses. "Maybe with this performance, he can get the recognition he deserves."

In 29 minutes, he shot 12-of-14 from the field including one three-pointer to help Arellano bounce back from a 12-point first quarter deficit and even outplayed Letran's physical players Jun Alas and Jam Cortes on both ends.

The win snapped Arellano's two-game slide after disappointing second half performances against perennial contenders San Beda and San Sebastian, respectively.

Beach volley updates

Over at the La Salle-Greenhills sand court, Perpetual Help made up for the sorry state of its men’s basketball team by drubbing host San Sebastian on Sunday in women’s beach volleyball, 21-5, 21-13.

The defending champions started strong for its title-retention bid after Keshia de Luna and April Ann Sartin preyed on the inexperienced duo of Karen Berbano and Bea Uy in carving out the quick, merciless first win.

St. Benilde, for its part, followed the same track after Giza Yumang and Rossan Fajardo teamed up to defeat Mapua’s Patricia Mae Aquino and Rachelle Anne Tan, 21-14, 21-15, and Arellano U’s Mary Ann Calleja and Mary Jane Diane Ticar, 21-7, 21-16 to also remain unscathed.

Letran, on the other hand, kept a clean card after Gena Andaya and Marinelle Carolino conquered Emilio Aguinaldo’s Charmille Belleza and Annabelle Dionela, 16-21, 21-10, 15-11, and Mapua’s Tan and Aquino, 21-9, 21-15.

Meanwhile, Emilio Aguinaldo College recovered from an opening game loss last Saturday by nipping San Beda’s Cherry Mae Quizon and Coline Malana, 23-21, 22-20.

With this, a three-way tie ensued among the Lady Generals, Lady Chiefs and Lionesses after holding 1-1 (win-loss) card while the Lady Stags and Lady Cardinals are the early cellar-dwellers at 0-2.

In men’s play, back-to-back champion Letran listed its second straight victory after Erickson Ramos and Rudy Gatdula put the cuffs on Mapua’s Ralph Ocampo and Cornelio de Ramos, 22-20, 22-17.

San Beda’s James Lorca and Lorenzo Capate and Arellano U’s John Lozada and Chris Salvador also zoomed to a second straight win and to the lead with triumphs over EAC’s Juvie Mangaring and Howard Mojica, 16-21, 21-14, 15-10, and CSB’s Jerome Sibal and Chad de Castro, 21-14, 21-13, respectively.

In the juniors’ division, defending champion Perpetual beat San Beda, 21-13, 21-12 while Arellano U survived past Jose Rizal 16-21, 21-9, 15-9.

San Sebastian zapped Letran, 21-13, 21-15, to likewise jumpstart their respective bids.

Cellar dwellers

Meantime, cage wars resume today at the Arena in San Juan with the bottom four teams in the nine-member tournament try to cap their first-round bids in a winning note.

EAC and Letran will square off in the 2 p.m. match with both teams are in the hunt for an elusive third win, while the listless Perpetual Help tries end the first round with a lone win after colliding with St. Benilde in the 4 p.m. contest.

“We hope to end our first round with a win,” said Letran coach Louie Alas.

“Our main goal is go into the second round with motivation, and we hope a win here would serve the purpose,” said EAC mentor Nomar Isla.

Games Today (The Arena, San Juan City)

2 p.m. – Emilio Aguinaldo vs. Letran

4 p.m. – St. Benilde vs. Perpetual

(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)