MANILA -- Arellano University outgunned Perpetual Help, 97-85, on Saturday, and got closer to current leader, 4-peat champion San Beda in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament.
Kieth Agovida posted a double-double effort of 22 points and 10 rebounds, while John Pinto, Jiovani Jalalon, Levi Hernandez and Allen Enriquez each chipped in double-digit figures to help the Chiefs stay at solo second with a 5-1 record.
Arellano U is now half a game behind San Beda, which occupies the top spot with a 5-0 slate.
Arellano's win, their third straight, also sent the Chiefs to their best start since joining the NCAA five years ago.
Arellano coach Jerry Codinera said he was surprised with their strong start.
"At first, I knew we had a chance to do good this season. I didn't expect we'll play this great," said Codinera.
After scoring 41 points in the first-half, the Chiefs went on attack mode in the second where they outscored the Altas, 56-40, to turn a 45-41 deficit into a victory. The victory underscored their old reputation as the league's highest-scoring team.
"I just told the players to run at every opportunity," said Codinera.
The Chiefs survived the 67-point explosion of Perpetual Help's prolific triumvirate of Earl Scottie Thompson, Harold Arboleda and Juneric Baloria by taking out the latter's bench support.
"We knew that Thompson, Arboleda and Baloria will score so we tried to minimize the other players from getting into the rhythm and we succeeded in doing that," said Codinera.
Perpetual Help appeared in control majority of the way before the duo of Jalalon and Pinto sparked a late third-quarter run that saw the Chiefs turn things around in their favor, 68-64, going into the final 10 minutes of play.
It was all Chiefs from then on as they ran the Altas to ground by converting the latter's 3-point misses to easy fast-break points.
The Las Pinas-based dribblers fell from third to joint fourth and tied with San Sebastian Stags at 3-2.