Lions, Chiefs arrange duel for NCAA crown
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2014 - 12:00am

Game Monday

4 p.m. – San Beda vs Arellano (Game One)

MANILA, Philippines - Top seed San Beda College checked an impending skid to hold off Perpetual Help, 81-75, while No. 2 Arellano University pulled off a tough 72-65 victory over Jose Rizal U to arrange a showdown for the 90th NCAA men’s basketball crown at the MOA Arena in Pasay City last night.

The Red Lions nearly squandered a 26-point bulge in the first half and needed to scramble at the finish to hack out the victory and advance to the finals for the ninth straight time.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, made a historic run to the finals in five years as they upended the Bombers in a tight finish behind Jiovanni Jalalon’s endgame heroics.

Jalalon drilled in two clutch baskets, including a put back in the last 23.5 seconds that all but shut the door on the Bombers.

“It’s a dream come true for all of us, for the entire community of Arellano,” said coach Jerry Codinera, who also drew big games from Dioncee Holts and Levi Hernandez.

Holts produced a 22-point, 11-rebound game while Hernandez chipped in 12 points although Jalalon came through with a solid all-around game with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists with three steals.

Tey Teodoro shot 19 points while Jaycee Asuncion tossed in 13 markers for the Heavy Bombers, who trailed by just one, 53-54, at the end of the third but just couldn’t match the Chiefs’ determined bid.

Earlier, the Lions pounced on the Altas’ listless start and raced away to double-digit spreads only to crumble in the face of the Las Piñas-based squad’s fiery fightback in the last 20 minutes.

The Altas rallied to within 75-80 after trailing by as many as 18-44 at the turn. But the Red Lions leaned on their experience and steady foul throw shooting in the end to frustrate the Altas and stay in the hunt for a fifth straight championship.

“I credit the Altas for a job well done. They came back to cut the lead to just five points. But I also credit my boys for having the heart to fight back. We just had to finish that game,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. 

Guard Baser Amer drained an insurance free throw as Perpetual Help’s Harold Arboleda and Earl Thompson’s desperation three-pointers went off the mark as time expired.

“I told them that we’re not going to win the championship if we wont survive Perpetual. I told them to play with heart and played with pride. At least our defense held in the fourth,” said Fernandez. 

Anthony Semerad fired 18 points to lead the Lions’ charge with Amer backing him up with 17 markers. Ola Adeogun dominated early and finished with another double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds while JP Mendoza chipped in 12 points for the Lions, who will face the winner of the other semis duel between Arellano and Jose Rizal U. 

League MVP Earl Thompson matched Adeogun’s double-double game with 20 points and 10 rebounds with five assists and three steals to boot while Juneric Baloria also scored 20 points and Harold Arboleda and Justine Alano added 14 and 11 points, respectively. But the Altas ran out of time in their frantic bid to overhaul a huge deficit and bowed out of the title race.

The Red Lions, who whipped the Chiefs in their playoff for the top seeding last week, blitzed the Altas with a 16-point splurge in the opening minutes while holding their stunned rivals to just one point. They sustained their run into the second quarter and made quick baskets while foiling the Altas with their choking defense to post whopping 44-18 lead at the break.

But the Altas came out of the half an organized lot, surprising the Red Lions with a big 24-6 run to move within eight, 42-50. Though the Red Lions held sway in the final period, the Altas kept hitting perimeter jumpers and pounding the lanes to close within, 75-80, on two free throws by Baloria with 19 seconds remaining left.  

The scores:

First Game

San Beda 81 – A. Semerad 18, Amer 17, Adeogun 13, Mendoza 12, De La Cruz 11, Pascual 6, Koga 2, Tongco 2, Sara 0, Abude 0, D. Semerad 0.

Perpetual 75 – Thompson 20, Baloria 20, Arboleda 14, Alano 11, Dagangon 7, Oliveria 2, Jolangcob 1, Dizon 0, Ylagan 0, Bantayan 0, Gallardo 0.

Quarterscores: 22-7; 44-18; 55-44; 81-75

Second Game

Arellano 72 – Holts 22, Hernandez 12, Jalalon 8, Caperal 8, Pinto 7, Agovida 7, Ciriacruz 4, Salcedo 2, Enriquez 2, Bangga 0, Gumaru 0, Cadavis 0.

Jose Rizal U 65 – Teodoro 19, Ascuncion 13, Mabulac 13, Abdulwahab 6, Benavides 5, Sanchez 4, Paniamogan 3, Lasquety 2, Salaveria 0, Grospe 0.

Quarterscores: 21-18; 36-31; 54-53; 72-65

ALTAS ARELLANO BUT THE ALTAS GAME JALALON LIONS PERPETUAL HELP POINTS RED LIONS SAN BEDA
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