WHILE the defending champion San Beda Red Lions made their way back into the Final Four, the Arellano Chiefs played the spoilers’ role yesterday in the 93rd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
Javee Mocon turned in big baskets to make bigger things happen for the Red Lions as they put away the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 65-60, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Mocon, the Red Lions’ veteran forward, drilled in another double-double, hitting 19 points and 15 rebounds to help carry the Mendiola dribblers to their 11th consecutive triumph and their 12th overall in 13 matches.
This carried the Red Lions to the Final Four for a 12th straight time, joining first-time semifinalist Lyceum.
“Thanks to the clutch shots of Javee, we won,” said Red Lions Boyet Fernandez.
The Heavy Bombers, behind Jed Mendoza with 16, dropped to third at 7-6. They are in trouble of being overtaken by the Letran Knights and the San Sebastian Stags, who are close behind at 6-6.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs weathered a late comeback by the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals to post an 84-79 triumph.
With Michael Canete making a game-high 27 points for the Chiefs, the Generals’s bid for the Final Four is now in question with their 6-7 slate.
The Generals threatened behind a triple from Sydney Onwubere, 74-75, before charities from Kent Salado and Lervin Flores helped the Chiefs stay out harm’s way.
In junior action, the San Beda Red Cubs turned back the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers, 70-69, with Evan Nelle scoring the winning baskets in the dying moments.
The Red Cubs, who hung on to third at 8-5, were behind by as much as three points with eight seconds and came close when Nelle sank two free throws after being fouled by JRU’s Javine Serrano.
The Red Cubs then forced a turnover from Kobe Callero and Nelle went on to score on a fastbreak lay-up with only 0.3 seconds left for the game winner.