Arellano University weathered Mapua’s late uprising to carve out a 64-59 victory in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Shane Menina drilled the game’s biggest basket, a step back triple to give the Chiefs the needed separation at 64-56 in the final 28.7 seconds after the Cardinals rallied from 11 points down to cut the deficit to two.
Arellano improved to 4-3, while Mapua, whose season-opening win to San Beda was recently forfeited for fielding in an ineligible player, fell to 0-7.
Cade Flores starred in the Chiefs’ third-quarter breakaway, erecting a 46-36 advantage.
Down 38-49 early in the fourth, the Cardinals fought back and threatened at 54-56 on Rence Nocum’s back-to-back baskets with 3:13 remaining.
Arellano held a 59-54 lead on a Wilmar Oftana triple, which Paolo Hernandez countered for Mapua to trim the gap at 56-59.
Prior to Menina’s heroics, Axel Doromal nailed two free throws for a 61-56 Chiefs lead with 55 seconds left.
Doromal finished with 16 points, Flores produced a double-double outing of 14 points and 11 rebounds to go with five assists, two steals and two blocks, while Menina chipped in 13 points, seven boards and two assists for Arellano.
Paolo Hernandez had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Arvin Gamboa chipped in 11 points and nine boards, while Nocum and Warren Bonifacio each had 10 points for the Cardinals.