MANILA, Philippines – Perpetual Help leaned on its "Fantastic Four" as it smothered Arellano University, 101-86, to close in on the league leaders in the NCAA Season 90 men's basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan on Monday.
Harold Arboleda, Juneric Baloria and Justine Alano fired on all cylinders with 28, 26, and 18 points, respectively, while Earl Scottie Thompson posted his second triple-double performance of the season to lead the Altas to their eighth win against four defeats.
By handing the Chiefs their third setback against nine wins, the Altas moved one game behind Arellano and two away from the pace-setting San Beda Red Lions (10-2).
Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario was so impressed with his team's performance that he declared it as their best thus far.
"Yes, this is our best game of the year," said del Rosario.
Baloria took charge in the third period when he torched Arellano for 14 points, while Arboleda stepped up in the final period as he poured in 12 points that quelled the Chiefs' late charge.
Alano made his impact in the first three quarters with his inside scoring.
Thompson did the rest, registering 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. It was his second triple-double of the season following his 15-ponit, 13-rebound, 12-assist game in a 73-65 win over Emilio Aguinaldo last July 11.
The performance of the "Fantastic Four" was enough to avenge Perpetual Help's 85-97 defeat to Arellano in the first round on July 26.
The game was also halted early in the fourth quarter after some lights inside The Arena went out.
When play resumed 20 minutes later, Perpetual Help momentarily lost the momentum as Arellano cut its 15-point deficit entering the final canto to just single digits. Arboleda however made key baskets down the stretch to quash the last fight from the Chiefs.
Perpetual Help 101- Arboleda 28, Baloria 26, Alano 18, Thompson 11, Dizon 6, Gallardo 6, Jolangcob 4, Ylagan 2, Sadiwa 0, Dagangon 0
Arellano U 86- Pinto 17, Agovida 15, Jalalon 11, Hernandez 10, Enriquez 8, Gumaru 6, Caperal 5, Holts 5, Salcedo 3, Ciriacruz 2, Palma 2, Ortega 2, Nicholls 0, Bangga 0
Quarterscores: 23-22; 49-44; 84-69; 101-86