Flores fronts Arellano’s triumphant return into Finals

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 30, 2016 06:39 PM
Flores fronts Arellano’s triumphant return into Finals
FLY HIGH. Lervin Flores and Arellano soared higher than Allwell Oraeme and Mapua in their most important matchup of the season thus far.

Up against reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Allwell Oraeme, Arellano University still had a 60-46 advantage on the boards.

More rebounds means more attempts and the Chiefs only made the most of those to muscle their way through Mapua Institute of Technology, 92-80, on Friday at the MOA Arena.

Making good on 40 of their unbelievable 100 attempts, Arellano powered their way into their second Finals in the last three years. This time in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament, they are the first team to enter the championship round.

“Sobrang saya kasi pagod na yung mga bata, pero yung pursuit of going back to the Final Four at Finals, nagawa,” coach Jerry Codinera expressed in his post-game conference.

It was rookie-transferee Lervin Flores who did most of the heavy lifting with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and tree blocks. “Thankful ako na nag-step up yung mga big man namin,” Jiovani Jalalon said of his hulking center who played Oraeme to a stalemate.

The Chiefs led from start to finish on the back of the Pampanga native who already had 22 points after three quarters.

It was in the final frame, however, when the Cardinals made their move as Darell Menina’s triple pulled them to within 70-76 inside the last six minutes. It was at that point that Jalalon took over and scored all but six of Arellano’s last 16 points.

“The Bus Driver” wound up with 22 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, and three steals to steer the Chiefs right back into the Finals after entirely missing out in the playoffs a year ago.

Jalalon and his bus will now await the winner in the do-or-die matchup between San Beda College and University of Perpetual Help on Tuesday. With one week to rest, Codinera said,

Oraeme still had 20 points, 24 rebounds, and four blocks for Mapua who bowed out of contention for the second time in a row after just one game in the Final Four.

BOX SCORES

ARELLANO 92 – Jalalon 22, Flores 22, Salado 13, Gumaru 10, Meca 5, Nicholls 5, Cadavis 4, Villoria 4, Holts 3, Enriquez 2, Aguilar 2, Gupilan 0

MAPUA 80 – Oraeme 20, Estrella 15, Isit 14, Eriobu 11, Raflores 7, Menina 6, Orquina 4, Victoria 3, Biteng 0, Bunag 0, Aguirre 0

QUARTER SCORES: 27-18, 49-42, 69-57, 92-80

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