Shane Menina delivered when it mattered the most once more and fired a crucial three to help Arellano outlast Mapua, 64-59, in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Shane Menina of Arellano (NCAA/GMA)

Key defensive stops from Danielle Mallari and Joshua Abastillas though paved the way for Menina to create space midcourt, isolating himself from beyond the arc and draining a dagger trey from the left wing with 28.7 seconds left to give the Chiefs a sigh of relief in the end game.

Menina, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, proved to be a thorn for Mapua as the late conversions of Paolo Hernandez and Adrian Nocum weren’t enough to pull off a late comeback for the embattled Cardinals.

Axel Doromal though led all scorers with 16 points while Cade Flores continued to be a force in the paint, tallying 14 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists as the Chiefs improved to a 4-3 record.

Arellano head coach Cholo Martin expressed satisfaction with how his wards showed immense defense, especially down the stretch against last season’s first runner-up squad.

“Second place yan last NCAA [season]. Intact ang lineup so kailangan talagang magtrabaho sa depensa,” said Martin. “‘Di pwedeng mag-relax. Kapag nag-relax ka doon (defense), patay na na naman kami.”

Bucking its slow start, Arellano went toe-to-toe with Mapua in the payoff period and it all boiled down to the sequence that ensued in the last minute.

After leading by three points only, Doromal kept the pace for the Chiefs with a conversion with 55 seconds left before Menina pulled off one of his many — and more to come — heroic acts this season.

In the ensuing play, Hernandez split his free throw before Nocum zoomed for a quick layup off an offensive rebound with 13.8 ticks to go.

Doromal fired blanks in the free throw line in the next possession but Jeric Pido’s three-pointer, which could have made it a one-possession ball game, rattled off the basket as time expired.

A win for the Chiefs was another sorry loss for the Cardinals, who fell to a 0-7 hole, as they continue to suffer from a huge blow after the NCAA Management Committee recently forfeited their opening win against the San Beda Red Lions last Sept. 10.

Hernandez spearheaded Mapua’s balanced attack with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists while Arvin Gamboa chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds. Warren Bonifacio and Nocum had 10 points apiece as well and grabbed nine and seven rebounds respectively for the Cardinals. ###

Source: Manila Bulletin (