Jalalon shows way as Arellano books return to Final Four

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 09, 2016 07:14 PM
Jalalon shows way as Arellano books return to Final Four
MONKEY OFF MY BACK. Jiovani Jalalon finally won after going 0-3 against Letran since last season.

To make their way back into the Final Four, Arellano University needed to go right through Colegio de San Juan de Letran – the defending champions in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Not only did the Chiefs run over the defending champions, they also pushed them right to the brink of elimination.

Jiovani Jalalon flirted with a triple-double and finally got the monkey of his back as he propelled Arellano past the Knights, 83-74, on Friday at the San Juan Arena.

“The Bus Driver” and his bus got stopped by Letran for all of their last three outings, but broke through this time around to collect 22 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. “Sobrang saya namin kasi nakabalik na kami sa Final Four,” he expressed in the post-game conference.

He also added, while chuckling, “Tapos nakaisa na rin ako sa Letran.”

Indeed, Jalalon got the better of the Knights – usual suspects Mcjour Luib and Rey Nambatac, in particular – and was in control from start to finish. He set up the table for a high-scoring first half for Arellano who already had 45 points after just the first two quarters.

Then with Letran rallying to as near as 64-71 late, it was again the graduating guard who steered the Chiefs out of danger by scoring all but four of his team’s last 12 points. They would not be threatened again and went full speed ahead all the way to their league-best 12th win in 14 games.

With their big-time triumph over the defending champions, Arellano clinched a spot in the Final Four a year after watching the playoffs from home. As a relieved coach Jerry Codinera expressed, “Ang laking relief sa aming nakabalik na kami sa Final Four. Positive energy yun para sa amin.”

Jalalon’s backcourt-mates Kent Salado and Donald Gumaru chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.

For the Knights, it was Nambatac who topped the scoring column with 28 points. Unable to stop Jalalon this time around, however, they dropped to an 8-8 standing and failed to make headway towards fourth-running and 9-5 Mapua Institute of Technology as well as fifth-running and 8-7 Jose Rizal University.

BOX SCORES

ARELLANO 83 - Jalalon 22, Salado 12, Gumaru 10, Cadavis 8, Holts 8, Nichols 8, Meca 7, Flores 6, Villoria 2, Aguilar 0, Enriquez 0, Gupilan 0.

LETRAN 74 - Nambatac 28, Sollano 15, Quinto 10, Balanza 9, Calvo 7, Luib 3, Apreku 2, Ambohot 0, Balagasay 0, Bernabe 0, Dela Pena 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 20-10, 45-30, 65-53, 83-74

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