Mapua can’t keep up as Arellano scores first twice-to-beat

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 20, 2016 04:10 PM
Mapua can’t keep up as Arellano scores first twice-to-beat
DRAG RACE. Jiovani Jalalon and Arellano always had an extra gear just as Mapua were closing in.

Mapua Institute of Technology kept coming and coming, but Arellano University always had another gear as they blazed their way onto the first twice-to-beat advantage for the Final Four in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Jiovani Jalalon showed the way, Donald Gumaru provided timely boosts, and the Chiefs’ high-octane offense proved too much even for reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme and the Cardinals, 95-82, on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.

Determined to set the best-ever record in school history, Arellano dropped 13 long-range bombs on their opponents. Even coach Jerry Codinera had to express in his post-win interview, “Grabe yung offense ngayon. Talagang it all went in.”

Now at 14-3, they are assured of a top two finish as well as at least a playoff for the top-seed.

All but three of those triples were courtesy of Jalalon and Gumaru who buried five each. Jalalon totaled 35 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals while Gumaru busted out with 15 points – all coming in the second half.

Still, the Cardinals weren’t giving the game away that easy and vanquished a nine-point deficit with a 12-2 run for a 75-74 advantage at the 6:12 mark of the final frame. It was at that point that Gumaru went back-to-back from deep to jumpstart a vicious 19-1 onslaught that re-established a 93-76 Chiefs’ lead.

A whole quarter earlier, it was also Gumaru who quelled a Mapua uprising that snatched away a four-point margin. His back-to-back bombs capped off a 13-4 counter that took back a 65-60 Arellano advantage.

Only with six made treys in the previous 16 games, the 24-year-old finally regained his shooting stroke in the nick of time for the championship-seeking Chiefs.

Kent Salado added 15 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists as Arellano’s three-headed monster at the backcourt roared to life with a matchup with San Beda College looming. “They can do offense and at the same time, they give me quality defense na hindi maibigay ng small forwards,” Codinera said.

For the Cardinals, it was CJ Isit who paced the scoring with 25 points while Oraeme posted a 13-point, 20-rebound double-double. Unable to stay in step with Jalalon and company, however, they drop to 11-6 and out of contention for a twice-to-beat advantage.

BOX SCORES

ARELLANO 95 – Jalalon 35, Salado 15, Gumaru 15, Cadavis 7, Flores 6, Canete 5, Enriquez 4, Nicholls 3, Meca 3, Villoria 2, Holts 0, Aguilar 0

MAPUA 82 – Isit 25, Menina 16, Oraeme 13, Eriobu 8, Orquina 7, Raflores 6, Estrella 3, Aguirre 2, Serrano 2, Victoria 0, Bunag 0

QUARTER SCORES: 16-13, 45-35, 67-63, 95-82

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