SAN JUAN City – Arellano University finally got back at defending champion San Beda College, 88-84, to close out the first round of action of the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball games at the San Juan Arena Tuesday (August 18). This was the first meeting of the two squads since last season’s championship series won by the Red Lions via a convincing two-game sweep.
“I always thought about last year’s loss in the finals so I was really motivated to help beat San Beda,” said Jiovani Jalalon, who presided over the Chiefs’ critical surge in the fourth period. For his part, Coach Jerry Codinera downplayed the revenge angle and simply thanked his players for going all out and sacrificing their bodies for the team.
Jalalon led all scorers with 22 points, eight coming in the fourth period plus eight assists, followed by Dioncee Holts with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Aside from the two mentioned players, other returnees from last season’s runner-up roster are Zach Nicholls, Julius Cadavis, Nichole Bangga, David Ortega and Donald Gumaru.
True enough, the Chiefs clicked at the right time. San Beda’s Donald Tankoua just turned the third period into his own playground by scattering 13 points and starring on defense to overturn their 37-41 halftime deficit into a 61-55 edge entering the final canto.
Jalalon and Nicholls opened the fourth with back-to-back triples that sparked a 13-2 run capped by another Jalalon triple that gave Arellano the lead for good, 68-63, and seven minutes to go. The Red Lions would manage to threaten behind a basket by Art de la Cruz and a Dan Sara triple, 71-73, but this was quickly quelled by back-to-back field goals by Allen Enriquez and Jalalon with 4:39 to go, 77-71.
The Chiefs would then erect their biggest lead of the game, 84-73, with three minutes to go courtesy of Enriquez. Arellano would not score a field from there but solid free throw shooting from Holts helped preserve the win amidst the late Red Lion surge led by a de la Cruz three-point play and triples from Sara and Ranbill Tongco.
Rookie Tankoua played his best game so far by finishing with 20 points, 12 made in the third period, on top of 12 rebounds. Sara followed with 16 points.
NCAA STANDINGS (after Round One)
San Beda 7-2
Perpetual Help 7-2
Jose Rizal 5-4
Mapua Tech 4-5
Saint Benilde 2-7
Emilio Aguinaldo 2-7
San Sebastian 2-7
The Red Lions started flat on defense, allowing the Chiefs to explode in the first period, 30-20. As the teams retreated to their dugouts for the halftime powwow, Ola Adeogun smashed the glass door in frustration with the Nigerian exchange student eventually going scoreless in the second half after tallying 10 points in the first half.
Cushioning the impact of the Red Lions’ second defeat in nine games was the nine-game sweep of the Red Cubs of the Junior Division after thwarting the tall and dangerous Arellano Braves, 86-81. The wards of Coach JB Sison are looking for the school’s seventh straight title, a championship run that began in 2009.
Pedro Alfaro made the key shots in the fourth period to top the Red Cubs with 23 points and five assists. Burly Samuel Abuhijle followed with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Guilmer de la Torre paced the Braves with 19 markers. Former under-16 national player Carlo Abadeza had 17 points and nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, the University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta Altas frustrated the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers in overtime, 86-83. It was the other way around in the Juniors Division with the Light Bombers finally clinching their first win of the season while keeping the Junior Altas winless, 89-66.
How They Scored:
SAN BEDA-RIZAL (86) – Alfaro 23, Abuhijle 18, Nelle 11, Velasquez 9, Bordeos 8, Lagumen 6, Tagala 5, Mahinay 4, de la Rosa 2, Nayve 0, Etrata 0.
ARELLANO (81) – de la Torre 19, Abadeza 17, Danas 12, Sunga 11, Espiritu 9, Bataller 7, Tamayo 3, Dularte 2, Velasco 1, Fornis 0, Canete 0.
Period Scores: 17-21, 39-37, 67-60, 86-81.
ARELLANO (88) – Jalalon 22, Holts 21, Salado 14, Enriquez 12, Nicholls 6, Gumaru 5, Cadavis 4, Bangga 2, Tano 2, Capara 0, Meca 0, Ortega 0, Zamora 0.
SAN BEDA (84) – Tankoua 20, Sara 16, de la Cruz 11, Adeogun 10, Koga 8, Tongco 6, Mocon 4, Soberano 3, Reyes 2, Presbitero 2, Sorela 2, Cabanag 0, Bonsubre 0.
Period Scores: 30-20, 41-37, 55-61, 88-84.