Even with a full tank, Arellano bus goes as far as Jalalon takes them

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 20, 2016 07:36 PM
Arellano bus goes as far as Jalalon takes them
GAS UP. Arellano is a popular choice as championship contenders behind Jiovani Jalalon, the best guard in college today.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 12-6, fifth place

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Allen Enriquez, Donald Gumaru, Jiovani Jalalon, Kent Salado

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Michael Canete, Lervin Flores

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: N/A

In their first-ever go in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament, Arellano University reached the championship round.

There, the Chiefs led erstwhile undefeated De la Salle University after two quarters. However, they ran out of gas and eventually dropped the match, and the championship.

Nonetheless, it was a statement showing for the Legarda-based squad – touted to be the favorites in the upcoming NCAA 92 Season – after claiming victories versus NCAA rivals San Beda College and University of Perpetual Help.

However, coach Jerry Codinera dismissed insinuations that they were the team to beat. “’Di naman yun statement. Basta build lang kami ng build,” he said.

Indeed, Arellano could look forward to building on the continued development of key cogs Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado as well as the exciting promise of youngsters such as Michael Canete and Lervin Flores. “Ngayon, mas malakas ang team namin kasi mas nagkakaintindihan na kami,” Codinera said.

He then continued, “Ang laki talaga ng diperensya ngayon kasi any time now, there are four or five blue chip players na capable.”

Still, despite a newer, longer bus, the Chiefs know very well that their fortunes lie in the hands of “Bus Driver” Jalalon – undoubtedly the top collegiate player in the country today.

Along with championship expectations, Jalalon is also being looked as the favorite for the individual awards. With no more Scottie Thompson in front of him, he is the primary player expected to stuff the stat sheet.

For his part, however, the Cagayan de Oro native said individual awards remain far from his mind. As he put it, “Hindi ko iniisip yun. Gusto ko lang magsama-sama kami ng teammates ko na umabot sa Final Four.”

He then continued, “Ayoko naman na sarili ko lang isipin ko. Kapag dumating na lang sa akin yun, dun ko na lang tatanggapin.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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