MANILA, Philippines – The Arellano University Chief used a big push in the second half to turn back the Lyceum Pirates, 93-80, to jumpstart their campaign in the 90th NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan Monday.
John Pinto, Arellano's dynamo of a guard, bucked a sluggish start by unloading 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, helping propel the Chiefs from a 41-37 deficit at halftime to their first victory.
"He (Pinto) is the leader of this team, and he showed it in this game," said Arellano University coach Jerry Codinera, who took over from Koy Banal early this year.
Aside from Pinto, there were other bright spots for Arellano, with Jiovani Jalalon toying with a triple-double by tallying nine points, eight rebounds, and eight assists along with a game-high four steals.
Meanwhile, Fil-Am Dioncee Holts marked his debut with an 11-point, 12-rebound outing.
The Pirates got off to a strong start and led after halftime, but did not have enough gas left in the tank as they were outgunned in the second half, 56-39.
Arellano 93- Pinto 20, Hernandez 16, Agovida 13, Nicholls 12, Holts 11, Jalalon 9, Bangga 6, Caperal 4, Salcedo 2, Gumaru 0, Ciriacruz 0, Palma 0, Enriquez 0, Cadavis 0.
Lyceum 80- Baltazar 15, Ko 15, Zamora 13, Bulawan 12, Maconocido 9, Gabayani 8, Soliman 5, Lesmoras 2, Malabanan 1, Elmejrab 0.
Quarterscores: 16-21; 37-41; 65-58; 93-80.