NCAA: Dela Cruz, Alban connive to get Arellano on the board

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 19, 2018 07:00 PM
NCAA: Dela Cruz, Alban connive to get Arellano on the board
Levi Dela Cruz drove the Arellano bus right into the winners' circle

At long last, Arellano University played its first game in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And making their debut at home at the Arellano Gym in Legarda, Manila, the Chiefs got off to a rousing beginning with a 75-69 thriller of an overtime triumph over visiting Emilio Aguinaldo College on Thursday.

The backcourt tandem of Levi Dela Cruz and Ian Alban were the stars of the show, with the latter sending the game to the extra period where the former took charge.

The Generals were clinging onto a 63-61 lead with 53 ticks to go before Alban willed a short stab over the outstretched arms of Cameroonian Hamadou Laminou.

With the tally tied, neither team would be able to score, forcing overtime.

There, EAC again had a one-point lead, at the three-minute mark before Dela Cruz went on a personal 5-0 run to put the home team up, 73-69.

The visitors had many chances to come closer, but both Jan Natividad and Juju Bautista muffed on their couple of charities.

Dela Cruz then hammered the final nail on the coffin with a baseline jumper that finalized the margin in Arellano’s first win in its first game in the season. “Maganda rin naman yung nangyari para nakapaghanda kami,” a satisfied head coach Jerry Codinera said, referring to the fact that their debut came already two weeks into the tournament.

In the end, second-year player Dela Cruz had 12 points, all but five coming in the extra period, while transferee Alban had 13 markers, eight coming in the fourth quarter. “Lahat-lahat, nagtulong-tulong actually,” Codinera said.

Indeed, it wasn’t just those two who did their part as Archie Concepcion posted a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double.

For the Generals, both Laminou and Bautista pounded in double-doubles, 14 points and 12 rebounds for the former and 14 markers and 16 boards for the latter.

They didn’t help their cause, however, as they botched 29 of their 46 free throws en route to a second straight setback to start the season.

BOX SCORES

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)

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