Arana, Team Greats upstage Team Stalwarts, 142-133 in Bacolod

JUSTIN ARANA (15) — PBA.PH

BACOLOD CITY — Newly-minted PBA All Stars Blitz Game Most Valuable Player Justin Arana looks to build on his stellar performance here as he shifts focus to Converge’s fight for survival in the Philippine Cup.

Mr. Arana muscled his way to 36 points and eight rebounds in leading Team Greats over Team Stalwarts, 142-133, Saturday night, emerging as the brightest among the rookies, sophomores and juniors. This augurs well for his confidence going into the difficult grind for the FiberXers, who are winless in five outings despite Mr. Arana’s splendid 19.6-point, 6.4-rebound average.

Mr. Arana and the FiberXers hit the court again on April 3 versus Rain or Shine, needing a bunch of wins, if not a sweep, to salvage a seat to the playoffs.

Mr. Arana delivered a roaring outing in the RSJ match that not only strengthened his self-esteem but also made a strong case for his possible inclusion in the main All Star Game in the near future.

The 6-foot-7 center banged in 24 in the first half to power Greats to a 78-73 cushion. After adding two in the third, he dropped 10 in the final canto to help tow the Greats to the finish line.

Mr. Arana’s 36 was the most points in a Greats-Stalwarts game since Encho Serrano fired 40 in Team Stalwarts 138-158 loss to Greats last year in Passi, Iloilo.

TNT’s Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Magnolia’s Jerrick Ahnamisi rifled in 23 and 21 respectively, to back up Mr. Arana, who dismissed getting sole credit for the triumph. — Olmin Leyba

The Scores:

Team Greats 142 — Arana 36, Ganuelas-Rosser 23, Ahanmisi 21, Stockton 9, Tuffin 8, Ildefonso 8, Laput 8, Caracut 8, Ilagan 8, Mamuyac 6, Cu 5, Gomez de Liano 2.

Team Stalwarts 133 — Aurin 23, Calma 22, Munzon 16, David 15, Yu 12, Santillan 12, Asistio 8, Zaldivar 7, Holt 7, Nocum 6, Amores 5.

Quarterscores: 39-45, 78-73, 109-106, 142-133.