Arellano University relied on the clutch shooting of guards Levi dela Cruz and Adrian Alban and took advantage of Emilio Aguinaldo College’s forgettable free-throw shooting as it escaped with a 75-69 overtime victory yesterday in the 94th NCAA basketball tournament at the AU Gym in Legarda, Manila.
Dela Cruz poured in seven of his 12 points in OT, while Alban, a transferee from Lyceum, scored eight of his 13 points late in regulation that sent the game into OT as the Chiefs posted their first win.
“When we had a big problem when we lost (Kent) Salado. We’re just thankful we have these guards to help fill the void,” said AU coach Jerry Codinera referring to the Dela Cruz-Alban tandem.
It helped AU that EAC missed 29 of the 46 foul shots the latter attempted including five in OT.
The Generals were in control when it led by five late in regulation, but Alban took over to help send the duel into OT.
The same script appeared in OT when Cameroonian beanpole Hamadou Laminou stabbed in a basket that gave the Generals a 69-68 lead with over three minutes remaining in OT.
But it turned out to be EAC’s last show of force as it couldn’t score the rest of the way while finding no answer to Dela Cruz.
The Generals, who lost to the Pirates, 97-106 a week back, fell to 0-2 (win-loss).
In the juniors’ division, AU drew strength from the career effort of Romuel Junsay as it battled back from a 21-point deficit to snare a 79-77 victory yesterday over EAC.
Junsay, a Mapua transferee, who will play his one and only season with AU this year, exploded with 34 points including 24 in the second half when the Braves turned a 27-42 deficit to their first victory.
EAC, which was paced by Cjay Boado’s 23 points and Adrian Balowa’s 19, fell to its second straight defeat.
First Game (jrs)
Arellano U 79 – Junsay 34, Espiritu 13, Fermin 10, Sunga 10, Domingo 5, Tolentino 3, Fornis 2, Templonuevo 1, Sahali 1, Liangco 0, Nepomuceno 0, Cabili 0, Recto 0
EAC 77 – Boado 23, Balowa 19, Sumagaysay 11, Ilustrimo 11, Sanosa 4, Lozano 2, Pascual 2, Quebral 2, Rodrin 2, Encila 1, Murillo 0, Calara 0, Rivera 0, Papa 0
Quarterscores: 12-24, 27-42, 56-57, 79-77
Second Game (srs)
ARELLANO 75 – Concepcion 15, Alban 13, Alcoriza 12, Dela Cruz 12, Villoria 9, Canete 7, Meca 4, Serajosef 2, Dela Torre 1, Abdurassad 0, Bayla 0, Codinera 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Sacramento 0, Santos 0
EAC 69 – Bautista 14, Cruz 14, Laminou 14, Garcia 7, Mendoza 7, Natividad 5, Robin 4, Diego 2, Magullano 2, Bugarin 0, Cadua 0, Gonzales 0, Neri 0, Tampoc 0
QUARTER SCORES: 20-13, 31-26, 49-48, 63-63, 75-69 (OT)