Sidney Onwubere starred anew as Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) fended off a pesky Arellano University side, 85-79, to grab the solo third spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
Onwubere pumped in a double-double, notching 17 points and hauling down 14 rebounds, as the Generals improved its win-loss record to 3-2 and marched past Colegio de San Juan de Letran on No. 3.
Juju Bautista chipped in 14 points on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting from the field while Jerome Garcia added 13 markers, pouring 10 of them in the third quarter, for the Generals.
“I’m very thankful that my veterans delivered,” said EAC head coach Ariel Sison, who missed the presence of Hamadou Laminou after the big man injured his right knee early in the game.
Main gunner Kent Salado fired a game-high 24 points on a 10-of-18 shooting clip and captain Allen Enriquez contributed 17 markers but their outputs were not enough to keep the Chiefs away from a three-game losing skid.
With the loss, Arellano dropped to the bottom half of the leaderboard with a 2-4 card.
The two teams went neck-and-neck at the onset as they exchanged baskets but Bautista’s two free throws sealed a 22-20 lead for the Generals in the opening period.
Arellano’s quick guard Levi dela Cruz converted the final shot from beyond the arc in the first half to knot the scoreline at 43-all.
Trailing behind 55-58 late in the third quarter, Garcia sank two treys to ignite a 12-2 run as EAC nabbed a 67-59 spread heading into the final frame.
The Generals scored seven unanswered points as they cruised to their largest lead at 76-66 with under four minutes left in the contest.
With Salado at the helm, the Chiefs threatened with a 13-5 rally, inching close to within two points, 79-81, with 49 seconds remaining.
But Onwubere and Raymund Pascua made their shots from the charity stripe to secure the hard-earned win for the Generals.
Inn the juniors division, Kobe Camacho and Aaron Fermin powered Arellano to an 83-65 romp of Emilio Aguinaldo.
Camacho drilled in a team-best 16 points while Fermin finished with a double-double of 15 markers and 17 rebounds as the Braves tallied their second straight win to join San Beda College on No. 3 with a 4-2 slate.
Sean Oriondo erupted with 20 points for the Brigadiers, who remained winless in five games at the bottom of the standings.