Arellano and Letran keep Final Four hopes alive, EAC ends season with a win

EAC Generals 83 – UPHSD Altas 81

The EAC Generals showed much improvement this season. Jerome Garcia made sure that the Generals would end the season on a high note as he led them in their season-ending win over the UPHSD Altas.

Garcia scored 22 points with 12 points coming in the crucial fourth period. EAC was able to build a double-digit lead early in the final period. But the Altas, led by Jonathan Yuhico and Prince Eze fought back to get to as close as three points in the final two minutes of the game. Garcia hit a clutch jumper to increase EAC’s lead back up to five points. The Altas threatened again but Garcia kept them at bay with another jumper. The Generals held on to the win.

Garcia’s baskets in crunch time spelled the difference for the Generals. He hit 4/11 three-pointers and shot 50% from the field. Sidney Onwubere and Jethro Mendoza backed Garcia up with 15 and 17 points respectively. Prince Eze had 21 points and nine rebounds for Perpetual. The Generals secured their seventh win and finished at 7th place with a 7-11 record.

AU Chiefs 81 – MU Cardinals 64

With Kent Salado sidelined, several Arellano Chiefs have stepped up in his place. Last game it was Rence Alcoriza and Lervin Flores. This time around, it was Levi Dela Cruz who came up big for Arellano. Dela Cruz scored  20 points to lead the Chiefs to a win over the Mapua Cardinals. With the win, Arellano is assured of at least a playoff for the final spot in the Final Four.

The Chiefs slowly but surely built up their lead throughout the game. They led by 10 points heading into the final period when De Cruz unloaded eight of his 20 points on the Cardinals. Lervin Flores gave Arellano their biggest lead of the game with a strong move inside to build a 21-point lead. The Chiefs would cruise on to the win from there. Arellano dominated Mapua from the get-go. They hit 45% of their shots while limited Mapua to only 37% shooting. The Chiefs also forced 18 turnovers while committing only 12 of their own.

Dela Cruz was on fire the entire game. He hit 7/13 shots including 4/5 from beyond the arc. Flores continued to dominate inside for Arellano. He had 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the win. Arellano is tied with Letran at 9-9. They are waiting for the winner of the San Sebastian and Perpetual match-up on Thursday.

CSJL Knights 66 – CSB Blazers 60

Rey Nambatac doesn’t want his career to end yet. With the Letran Knights facing a stiff challenge from the Benilde Blazers, the Knights superstar hit a big shot to ensure the win. Nambatac led Letran with 18 points but none were bigger than the three-points he scored in the dying seconds of the game.

Letran was holding on to a slim two-point lead, 61-59 with less than thirty seconds left in the game. They repeatedly foiled attempts by Benilde to tiw the game. Jerrick Balanza got the loose ball and immediately ran down court. He passed off to JP Calvo who was in the left wing. Calvo went up for a fast break layup but his shot was off the mark. Nambatac who was trailing the play rose up, gathered the miss and scored on a put back and-one to give Letran a four-point lead. That was the dagger that secured the win for his team.

Nambatac scored 12 points in the second half to lead Letran to a 9-9 finish. They are now tied with Arellano, waiting if San Sebastian will join them with a 9-9 record. If there is a three-way tie, there will be step-ladder knockout games to determine the final slot in the playoffs. If only Letran and Arellano finish at 9-9, they will have a knockout game to determine who advances to the Final Four.

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