SAN JUAN City – Arellano University leaned on the all-around game of guard Kent Salado to whip College of Saint Benilde, 81-65, and gain a share of Group A leadership of the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup at the San Juan Arena Wednesday (May 11). The Chiefs kept their undefeated record at 3-0 in a tie with University of Perpetual Help System Dalta which beat Emilio Aguinaldo College in the previous contest, 61-52.
Arellano though hit an early snag as team leader Jiovani Jalalon had to leave the game with two minutes left in the opening period after sustaining a big cut on his left eyelid in a collision with Blazers center Clement Leutcheu. Jalalon was rushed to a nearby hospital for stitches and did not return, ending up with six points and an assist in eight minutes of play.
That did not faze Coach Jerry Codinera. “We are guard heavy and I trust my players,” said Coach Codinera.
True to their coach’s word, Salado and Brylle Meca stepped up in Jalalon’s absence. While the Chiefs struggled at first, they eventually settled down and blew away the Blazers come the final canto.
With the score tied at 52-52, the Chiefs’ defense held Saint Benilde scoreless for a five-minute span bridging the third and fourth period, unloading 11 unanswered points for a 63-52 lead. Salado and Meca went to work as they combined for all but four of the Chiefs’ final 18 points, erecting their biggest lead of 20 points with still 1:21 to play, 81-61.
“I did not think about scoring, I focused more on setting up my teammates,” said Salado, who like Jalalon is a recruit from Cagayan de Oro City. Salado finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a steal for good measure while Meca was the top scorer with 15 points on top of seven rebounds.
“Knowing Jiovani, he will be back for our next game,” added Coach Codinera. The Chiefs next assignment will be on May 13 (Friday) against Perpetual Help for solo group leadership.
Christian Fajarito paced the Blazers with 21 points and nine rebounds. Carlo Young followed with 14 points as Saint Benilde dropped to 0-3 and solo occupancy of the Group A cellar.
How They Scored:
ARELLANO (81) – Meca 15, Salado 13, Villoria 11, Flores 8, Gumaru 7, Jalalon 6, Canete 5, Abanes 5, Enriquez 4, Cadavis 4, Rivera 2, Gupilan 1, Nicholls 0, Holts 0, Alcoriza 0, Bano 0.
SAINT BENILDE (65) – Fajarito 21, Young 14, Leutcheu 6, Haruna 5, JJ Domingo 5, Dixon 5, Pajarillaga 3, San Juan 3, Belgica 2, Pasamante 1, Pili 0, Sta. Maria 0, Castor 0, Norberte 0.
Period Scores: 19-21, 40-36, 59-52, 81-65.