Sydney Onwubere carried the fight for Emilio Aguinaldo College after Cameroonian Hamadou Laminou hurt his knee as the Generals turned back Arellano University, 85-79 on Tuesday to grab solo third spot in the 93rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.
Onwubere flashed MVP form after firing a team-high 17 points, including four booming triples on top of 14 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal to help fill the void left by the 6-9 Laminou.
EAC coach Ariel Sison said the hard-working Laminou will undergo MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to have left knee checked.
“He (Laminou) will undergo an MRI and we hope it’s nothing serious,” said EAC coach Ariel Sison. “Good thing Sydney stepped up big for us.”
But the game also produced a lot of heroes for EAC.
One of them is Jerome Garcia, who came alive with 13 points in the second half, including 10 in the third quarter when the Generals turned a tight first half to a 67-59 lead at the end of the third period.
Jesse Bautista scattered 14 points while Francis Munsayac chipped in 11 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.
Onwubere, who is playing his final season, said they would need everyone to step up to fill the Laminou vacuum.
“We need to help each other because it will really be tough for the team without Hamadou,” said Onwubere, easily a legitimate candidate for the MVP award this season.
The Chiefs, who were led by Kent Salado’s 24 points, absorbed their third straight defeat and fourth overall against two wins.
In juniors’ action, Arellano dumped EAC, 83-65, to join San Beda at joint third with a 4-2 card.
The Brigadiers fell to 0-5.
EAC 85 – Onwubere 17, Bautista 14, Garcia 13, Munsayac 11, Laminou 8, Diego 6, Guzman 6, Pascua 5, Corilla 3, Neri 2, Tampoc 0, Mendoza J 0, Mendoza I 0
Arellano U 79 – Salado 24, Enriquez 17, Alcoriza 12, Flores 7, Dela Cruz 5, Meca 3, Villoria 3, Nicholls 3, Concepcion 3, Canete 2, Abanes 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0
Quarterscores: 22-20, 43-43, 67-59, 85-79