26 02 2007

PhotoIn two 5 minute stretches, the Chiefs have proven that they can match up well against the Generals.

Arellano University, riding on the splendid performance of Orlando Daroya, claimed Game 1 with a heart-stopping 103-99 double overtime win over Emilio Aguinaldo College in their 1st game of their best-of-three finals of the 14th NCRAA.

Impressing the crowd of the Arellano gym in Legarda, swingman Daroya erupted with a career-high 36 points and grabbed seven rebounds while guard Gio Ciria Cruz added 20 points to give the Chiefs their 1st win of the series.

It was Daroya’s heroics in the second extension period that decided the Chiefs’ fate in their emotional encounter with the Generals after hitting an under-goal stab and a triple with 2:23 to go gave Arellano a 99-96 edge.

After that, the Generals’ offense somehow slowed down with the loss of big man Alain Musni due to five personal fouls. Ace gunner Ronjay Buenafe then split his free throws and missed his three-point attempts down the stretch.

A lay-up by Toto Marquez finally gave the Chiefs a chance to stay out of trouble in the remaining 42 seconds, 103-97 and from there the Generals never cannot seem to recover from their high-scoring encounter.

“We controlled Ronjay Buenafe because we believed he’s the one who will carry the fight for the Generals,” said Arellano U coach Leo Isaac, who is now head coach of the Mapua Cardinals for the 83rd season of the NCAA.

“At the same time, we have to sustain our intensity which probably became our key to win today,” added Coach Isaac.

The Generals, who fielded in the heavily guarded Buenafe in the last period of regulation, fought their way out of a 10-point deficit and four deadlocks, with Buenafe scattering 14 of 24 points for the period.

They got 21 points from John Valderama, who left the game with five fouls in the last three minutes of regulation.

After Daroya made a lay-up off an assist from Tylon Darjuan’s to tie the game at 83-all. Buenafe missed from the three-point range at the buzzer, sending the contest beyond regulation.

The Chiefs lost two key players in the first overtime, allowing Buenafe to again tie the count at 93-all with 16 ticks to go in the first extension.

But JR Manansala’s hurried trey as time expired was not counted in favor of the Generals, sending the match into another overtime period.




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