By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

NATIONAL Collegiate Athletic Association Season 95 hosts Arellano Chiefs shoot for back-to-back victories when they take on the Mapua Cardinals today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Set for 4 p.m., the Chiefs (3-9), currently at ninth place in the race, are out to make a last-ditch sprint to salvage their season by winning as many games as possible in their remaining elimination round assignments.

Arellano is coming off a victory over the Perpetual Help Altas, 91-86, on Sept. 19, stopping a three-game losing in the process.

Veteran guard Kent Salado stepped up big in the game, finishing with all-around numbers of 18 points, 12 assists, four steals, and three rebounds.

The Chiefs had a good start in said game but sputtered midway.

They, however, would regain their footing in the final canto to outlast the Altas and book the win.

Justin Arana backstopped the efforts of Salado with 17 points and seven rebounds while Dariel Bayla had 12 points and nine boards.

Rence Alcoriza and Archie Concepcion were the two other Chiefs in double-digit scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

“This win is big for us as we get back on track after three straight losses. We need more wins to be able to catch up with the leading pack,” said Arellano coach Cholo Martin after their win.

Incidentally, the stellar play of Salado earned for him NCAA player of the week honors given by media covering the league.

Salado bested Noah Lugo of Mapua, James Canlas of San Beda, and Jaycee Marcelino of Lyceum for the award.

Meanwhile, out to send Chiefs crashing is Mapua (5-6), winners of their last two matches to stay within striking distance of the top four.

The Cardinals beat the Chiefs in their first-round encounter, 73-64, on Aug. 10.

The win marked a turnaround for Mapua in Season 95 as it started for it a run of three straight victories after opening its campaign with five losses in a row.

Laurenz Victoria exploded for 29 points in the win that saw them relying on a strong second-half effort to emerge victorious.

Paulo Hernandez poured in 11 of his total 14 points in the fourth quarter to provide a much-needed boost for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals, currently riding a two-game winning streaks, hope to double up on the Chiefs in today’s game to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season and continue their push for a Final Four spot.

Also playing today are the defending champions San Beda Red Lions (12-0) against rival San Sebastian Stags (7-4) at 12 noon and the Letran Knights (8-4) versus the skidding College of Saint Benilde Blazers (6-5) at 2:00 afternoon.