Jalalonís fourth quarter takeover moves Chiefs back into first
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 06, 2016 04:02 PM
IN CONTROL. Jiovani Jalalon was again at the steering wheel as Arellano regained control of the leaderboard.
Neither blown lead nor blown call could derail Arellano University’s powering through back onto a place atop the leaderboard in the 92nd NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
And it’s all because Jiovani Jalalon weren’t going to let them.
Unleashing 15 of his 33 points in the final frame, including all but four of his team’s last 14, Jalalon was the dagger that drove right through the hearts of very game Lyceum of the Philippines University in a 78-75 decision in favor of the Chiefs on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.
In control for majority of the matchup, Arellano all of a sudden found themselves behind by four inside the last five minutes. It was at that point, however, that “The Bus Driver” buried back-to-back hits to front seven straight points that regained the lead for them, 72-69.
Jesper Ayaay made good on his own inside basket to pull the Pirates back to within one only to see Jalalon rise over his outstretched arms for a long deuce. The ball touched nothing but net and the Chiefs wouldn’t be threatened the rest of the way.
The graduating guard wound up with his personal season-best in points to go along with six rebounds. Nothing but glad to have that kind of production on his squad, coach Jerry Codinera said, “We really needed that – yung very precise and accurate na decision-making niya.”
Jalalon waxed hot just in time as a missed call early in the final frame took away two points from Kent Salado and also gave Harry Nzeusseu a chance to make good on a free throw. Riding on that momentum, LPU scored six straight points for a 69-65 lead.
“Natakot nga ako nun. Bumabalik nang bumabalik LPU,” “The Bus Driver” admitted. Fortunately for Arellano, he only used that to prove yet again his clutch credentials.
Lervin Flores and Kent Salado added 15 and 13 points, respectively, to help the Chiefs rise to 11-3. Following San Beda’s loss to JRU, they now own the solo lead – at least until, if ever, perpetual wins in the ongoing game.
Still, Codinera said they aren’t thinking too far ahead. “Focus lang kami sa things we can control. Basta we will pursue the one or two position,” he said.
For LPU, it was Ayaay who showed the way with 18 points. They remain alive with a 5-10 record, but their fourth loss in a row has pushed them to the brink of elimination.
ARELLANO 78 – Jalalon 33, Flores 15, Salado 13, Aguilar 5, Villoria 3, Zamora 3, Enriquez 2, Cadavis 2, Holts 1, Gumaru 1, Nicholls 0, Meca 0
LPU 75 – Ayaay 18, Marata 15, Nzeusseu 14, Caduyac 7, Soliman 6, Gabayni 5, Baltazar 4, Alban 3, Magbuhos 2, Rubite 1, Bulawan 0, Malabanan
QUARTER SCORES: 17-11, 36-29, 55-55, 78-75
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