ARELLANO University thumbed down Mapua, 76-72, Friday during the 86th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
The Chiefs listed their fourth win in nine outings, half game behind the Cardinals who dropped to solo fourth with a 5-4 (win-loss) card.
Arellano dictated the game’s tempo and never looked back with Ronnel del Rosario knocking in an all-around performance with 21 points, six rebounds, two blocks and one assist and a steal.
“We pinpointed from the very start kung sino ang babantayan sa Mapua. Nag-devise kami ng defensive plan kina (Allan) Mangahas, (Erwin) Cornejo at (Mark) Acosta and it clicked," said Coach Leo Isaac
"Overall, maganda ang simula ng second round namin. Sana ma-maintain pa namin ang aming laro, offensively and defensively,” he added.
Arellano wasted no time to waylay Mapua, which absorbed their second stinging defeat in two days after bowing to Jose Rizal University last Wednesday.
Andrian Celada posted 17 markers and six boards while Rocky Acidre added 11 for the Chiefs, who will be facing Letran on August 30.
“Sa ngayon, puwedeng-pwede pa kami makahabol sa Final Four. Lahat naman ng teams gusto makapasok. Basta’t makakuha lang kami ng ilang panalo,” said Isaac.
Cornejo scored a game-high 29 points, nine rebounds and a block while Teree Guillermo registered nine points for the Iosing cause of the Intramuros-based squad.
JRU in solo third
In the other contest, Jose Rizal University easily disposed Letran College, 76-60, to tighten its grip on the third place.
Nate Matute had a breakout game this season as he dished out 11 of his career-high 22 points in the payoff period to register the Mandaluyong-based squad’s seventh win in nine starts.
“Nakikita ko na nasa 70 percent na ang potential ng team, dati nasa 60 percent lang. Sana higher pa sa mga susunod na game. Marami kaming turnovers pero andun pa rin ang depensa,” said mentor Vergel Meneses.
“Ang sabi ko sa kanila, every game sa second round ay i-treat namin na parang championship game para makadikit kami sa San Sebastian at San Beda,” he added.
Alex Almario and PBA hopeful Marvin Hayes contributed 13 and 12 points apiece while Jaypee Belencion topscored for Letran with 14 markers.
The Knights slipped to eighth place with a 2-7 (win-loss) card.
In juniors play, Mark Cruz sizzled with 25 points as the Letran Squires beat Jose Rizal Light Bombers, 86-75, and join their victims at 6-3.
Andoy Estrella and Rodolfo Alejandro combined for 29 points as the Mapua Red Robins routed the Arellano Baby Chiefs, 74-52, for their fifth win in nine assignments.
Arellano (76)- Del Rosario 21, Celada 17, Acidre 11, Lapuz 8, Tayongtong 8, Ciriacruz 4, Palma 3, Zulueta 2, Casino 2, Caperal 0.
Mapua (72)- Cornejo 29, Guillermo 9, Pascual 8, Mangahas 8, Ighalo 7, Sarangay 7, Stevens 2, Parala 2, Cabrera 0, Ranises 0, Acosta 0, Banal 0.
JRU (76)- Matute 22, Almario 13, Hayes 12, Lopez 8, Kabigting 6, Bulangis 6, Apinan 4, Njei 3, Montemayor 2, Etame 0, Badua 0.
Letran (60)- Belencion 14, Cortes 11, Alas Kevin 10, Espiritu 8, Taplah 5, Belorio 4, Alas Kristoffer 4, Dysam 3, Pantin 1, Almazan 0, Ang 0, Rodil 0.
Games Monday (The Arena, San Juan City)
2 p.m. - San Sebastian vs Emilio Aguinaldo
4 p.m. – San Beda vs St. Benilde