Chiefs ride veterans to register first win in post-Jalalon era
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 08, 2017 07:05 PM
TOMORROW IS NOW. For the first time since 2014, there is no Jiovani Jalalon suited up for Arellano.
Jiovani Jalalon is long gone, but the fire still burns for Arellano University in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Kent Salado did the heavy lifting, but had help from the Chiefs’ other veterans as they hacked out a hardfought 91-82 triumph over Mapua University on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
“Napakatamis na panalo. Ang hirap kunin ng first game kasi may jitters lahat,” a satisfied head coach Jerry Codinera said.
No one had control in the battle between new-look teams until Zach Nicholls, Allen Enriquez, and Lervin Flores joined forces with Salado for 11 unanswered points that turned a one-point margin with six minutes remaining into a 91-79 lead.
Showing that this is his team now, Salado scored the last four points in that decisive run that eventually ended as a season-opening win for Arellano.
The new High Chief wound up with 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in his first go-round as the main man. “Akin lang, para magawa ko ginagawa niya (Jalalon), focus lang ako sa laro,” he expressed.
Second-year forward Michael Canete also impressed with a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double. “Kahit two points lang ako, okay lang po. Basta nagtutulungan po kami,” he said.
While they tallied 91 points, it wasn’t just offense that won the game for last year’s runners-up. They forced 25 turnovers from their opponents which were quickly converted into 18 points.
The Chiefs also only allowed three points in the last six minutes to secure their first win without Jalalon who had been with the team since 2014.
On the other hand, the Cardinals still didn’t have enough despite Laurenz Victoria’s 23 points and Andoy Estrella’s 19 points.
ARELLANO 91 - Salado 24, Cañete 17, Meca 9, Dela Cruz 8, Enriquez 8, Villoria 7, Flores 5, Nicholls 5, Abanes 3, Alcoriza 3, Concepcion 2, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Padilla 0.
MAPUA 82 - Victoria 23, Estrella 19, Orquina 9, Aguirre 8, Nieles 8, Raflores 8, Pelayo 7, Buñag 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 19-23, 44-46, 72-71, 91-82.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.