The Arellano Chiefs had the element of surprise on their side, going with a revamped starting five and ambushing the St. Benilde Blazers with an 11-0 start to the game. Still, the game was a close affair, as Mark Romero was able to make the dish to Jonathan Grey to cut the lead to just two points, 62-60, but on the ensuing Arellano possession, the Chiefs were able to kill clock before the Blazers were forced to foul sending Andrian Celada to the line where he converted two charities to clinch the 64-60 win. Celada, Gerald Lapuz and Rocky Acidre all scored in double-digits, overshadowing the one-two rookie punch of Paolo Taha and Jonathan Grey for the Blazers. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- With the 4-7 Blazers at sixth place and the 4-8 Chiefs at seventh, beating the other team at this point will greatly help boost the winner's campaign to wrest away the final playoff seed. A loss could essentially mean a need to sweep the remaining games, given how there's only about six or seven remaining on tap.
CSB Player to Watch : Carlo Lastimosa found himself shut down against the Chiefs in their first encounter, scoring just four points on 1 of 6 shooting, while turning the ball over foul times. No doubt, he'll be looking to assert himself versus this team, but in the face of a 2-3 zone, Lastimosa has to be avoid falling into the temptation of chucking up triple after triple and instead, drive into the lane and kick out to open players if necessary.
AU Player to Watch : Andrian Celada has been up and down all season for the Chiefs, as his marksmanship has not always been there for this squad. In fact, in the second round, he's shooting a mere 33 percent from the field. What's saved him though is against Letran and EAC, he managed to get to the line 17 times, missing just one charity. Against San Sebastian though, he only saw the stripe twice, knocking them both down. If Celada begins attacking the interior, especially since CSB doesn't have a single shot blocker, he could put his team in position to win once again.
Prediction: Arellano Chiefs