(Filoil Flying V Centre)
2 p.m. – SSC-R vs JRU (Men)
4 p.m. – SBU vs EAC (Men)
UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help System Dalta halted a three-game slide to wheel back into Final Four contention while College of Saint Benilde missed wresting solo third place anew yesterday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With ace guard Edgar Charcos returning from an injury, the Altas carved out a 57-45 victory over Arellano University and stayed in the semifinal round with six wins against five defeats.
Mapua pinned a second straight loss on the Blazers while posting their first back-to-back wins in two years with an 86-83 upset victory.
St. Benilde fell at 7-5 in fourth, allowing idle Letran (7-4) to remain at No. 3, and is now only ahead by half-a-game over fifth-running Perpetual Help.
Nigerian Prince Eze produced 20 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks, but the return of Charcos after a two-game absence proved to be the big difference for the Altas.
“Charcos really plays a big part in our system,” said Perpetual Help coach Frankie Lim. “We like what we are right now. It would be better had we not lost three consecutive games. It’s a good win before playing LPU on Friday.”
The Altas held the Chiefs to four points in the second period and posted the biggest lead of the game, 44-17, in the third to put the game beyond recall.
“We made good stops. Pagkatapos noon, maganda na ang itinakbo namin. Bigla na lang sila (Arellano) nag-break down,” said Lim.
The Chiefs, who drew 15 points and 13 rebounds from Michael Cañete, suffered their seventh loss against four wins.
The Cardinals led by as much as 15 points before the Blazers rallied and led, 70-69, courtesy of a Unique Naboa basket with over six minutes left.
Justin Serrano, scoring a lay-up over Clement Leutcheu, allowed Mapua to retake the lead, 74-73, at the 5:11 mark, before Laurenz Victoria and rookie Warren Bonifacio kept St. Benilde at bay with their key baskets down the stretch.
Aside from surpassing their three-win output last year, the Cardinals won consecutive games for the first time since beating the Knights and the Blazers on Sept. 13 and 15, 2016.
With a 4-8 card, Mapua suddenly became a part of Final Four conversation, trailing St. Benilde by just three games.
Seeing the Cardinals progress at this point of the season, coach Atoy Co is hoping that his troops will not lower their guard with six games left in the eliminations.
In the juniors division, Dan Arches had 23 points as Mapua completed a head-to-head elimination round sweep of titleholder CSB-LSGH, 93-87, in a rematch of last year’s Finals, while Arellano downed Perpetual Help, 70-66, to tie its victims at 5-6.
MU (86) – Victoria 16, Bonifacio 12, Serrano 12, Lugo 11, Pelayo 10, Aguirre 9, Gamboa 8, Buñag 4, Jabel 2, Biteng 2, Nieles 0.
CSB (83) – Gutang 22, Pasturan 16, Leutcheu 15, Naboa 10, Nayve 10, Haruna 8, Dixon 2, Belgica 0, Velasco 0, Young 0.
Quarterscores: 28-19, 49-35, 63-55, 86-83
UPHSD (57) – Eze 20, Peralta 10, Razon 9, Coronel 8, Charcos 6, Cuevas 3, Magalino 1, Aurin 0, Jimenez 0, Pasia 0, Tamayo 0.
AU (45) – Cañete 15, Sera Josef 8, Concepcion 7, Dela Cruz 5, Dela Torre 3, Villoria 2, Segura 2, Alcoriza 2, Abdurasad 1, Codiñera 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Sacramento 0, Santos 0, Bayla 0.
Quarterscores: 15-10, 33-14, 46-28, 57-45