PASAY CITY – Arellano University pounced on a massive meltdown in the stretch by Mapua University to prevail, 91-82, on the opening day of the 93rd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) season at the Mall of Asia Saturday (July 8). The Chiefs, last year’s runner-up, held the Cardinals scoreless for almost the entire final four minutes to run away easily.
“The first game is always tough to win because of the jitters,” said Coach Jerry Codinera. “We learned a lot from our experiences in the preseason as we get used to be without Jiovani Jalalon.”
Sans Jalalon who is now playing professionally, Arellano drew big numbers from Kent Salado and Michael Canete. “I cannot do it alone, I need the help of my teammates,” said Salado, on his being Jalalon’s successor.
Andrew Estrella threatened for the last time by putting Mapua within a point, 79-80, but the Chiefs unleashed a crippling 11-0 run behind Salado and Allen Enriquez for an unassailable 91-79 margin. A late triple from Almel Orquina settled the final count.
Salado finished with a game-high 24 points on top of seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Canete had a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Laurenz Victoria carried the load for the undermanned Cardinals with 23 points and five rebounds. Estrella followed with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Coach Atoy Co fielded only eight men.
How They Scored:
ARELLANO (91) – Salado 24, Canete 17, Meca 9, Enriquez 8, de la Cruz 8, Villoria 7, Nicholls 5, Flores 5, Alcoriza 3, Abanes 3, Concepcion 2, Ongolo-Ongolo 0, Padilla 0.
MAPUA (82) – Victoria 23, Estrella 19, Orquina 9, Aguirre 8, Nieles 8, Raflores 8, Pelayo 7, Bunag 0.
Period Scores: 19-23, 44-46, 72-71, 91-82.