Arellano U claims 1st ever NCRAA title

2 03 2007

Perseverance and Determination have finally sent the Chiefs to the promise land.

Arellano U, with its consistent free throw shooting particularly in the endgame, have won its first ever crown in the 14th Petron-National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) men’s basketball tournament Wednesday.

Six-footer Gio Ciriacruz took it to the Chiefs after scoring two free throws off Alain Musni’s foul with 3.8 seconds to go, giving the Chiefs a sweet 67-64 final score triumph over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.

Despite hitting only six points the rest of the game, Ciriacruz drilled in the points that mattered most to give Leo Isaac, who will handle the coaching chores for Mapua this coming NCAA season.

His effort enabled the Chiefs’ to improve on their runner-up finish after losing in the finals to the St. Francis Doves last year.

“We wanted the game in a run-and-gun style, although we have to play defense to keep the game close. In this instance, we can win and we did,” said Chiefs coach Leo Isaac.

The Chiefs finished the best-of-three title series with a 2-1 win-loss record after succumbing to the Generals, 77-65, in Game 2.

It was an emotional win for the Chiefs, loyal supporters of both schools had to be restrained from bombarding each other with debris and water bottles.

Magcawas showed the way for the Chiefs with 18 points, including two charities with 50.3 ticks to go off a Ronjay Buenafe. Tylon Darjuan, who was named the league MVP, tallied only nine behind Nathaniel Estilo’s 12.

After a drive-in attack by John Valderama with 1:59 remaining, the Generals tasted the lead for the last time, 62-61. But they lost the the upperhand with 1:36 after an Alfie Martinez penetration into the shaded lane to give the Chiefs a 63-62 edge.

The Chiefs did a great job in stopping Buenafe, who was held to just six points. It was John Valderama who carried the torch for the Generals with 18 points and left the game with ankle injury.

Box scores:

Arellano 67- Magcawas 18, Estilo 12, Darjuan 9, Martinez 8, Daroya 7, Ciriacruz 6, Agustin 3, Nulla 2.

EAC 64- Valderama 18, Ebuen 12, Hubalde 8, Musni 7, Castillo 6, Buenafe 6, Mendoza 4, Anzures 0.

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