Arellano eyes share of top spot

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Arellano University will gun for a share of the lead when it faces Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) today in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

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Arellano battles EAC at 4 p.m. while University of Perpetual Help System DALTA aims to bounce back from a devastating loss when it meets winless College of Saint Benilde in the opening game at 2 p.m.

The Chiefs, holding a 9-2 win-loss record and currently No. 2, want a share of the top spot now solely occupied by the San Beda College Red Lions.

The Red Lions, who were still upset for their 72-71 loss to the San Sebastian College Golden Stags on Tuesday, carry a 10-2 win-loss record.

But Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera reminds his players that they cannot be complacent against the Generals. “We cannot take them [EAC] for granted because they improve a lot,” he said.

“As what I’ve told them yesterday about what happened to San Beda and to other teams as well. San Sebastian defeated them and it could also happen to us if we don’t play properly,” he said.

Arellano will be banking anew on the skills of playmaker Jiovanni Jalalon, who posted 17 points, five rebounds and five assists in their 78-69 win against College of Saint Benilde. Dioncee Holts, Kent Salado, Donald Gumaru, Zach Nichols and rookie Lervin Flores will support him.

After losing to the Red Lions 82-90, last week, the Generals, with a 3-8 win-loss record, will be rekindling their never-say-die flame through the leadership of Hamadou Laminou.

“We’ll just play our game,” said EAC coach Ariel Sison via text message. “We have to focus also on our game plan and hopefully we execute well our offense and defense. Arellano is a very tough team.”

Besides Laminou, EAC will be counting on Sidney Onwubere, Francis Munsayac, Remy Morada and Igee King in their battle against the Chiefs.

Following a 55-71 loss to San Sebastián last week, the Altas will be trying to avoid back-to-back losses when they face the Blazers.

Perpetual Help is at the No. 3 spot with an 8-3 win-loss record.

The Altas need a strong performance from center Bright Akhuetie, Prince Eze, Gab Dagangon, Flash Sadiwa and Jeffrey Coronel to secure a win.

“We have to play without pressure, we just have to play according to our system. I believe we can get back to our winning ways,” said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican via text message. “Last time, we were overconfident that we can beat San Sebastián but it didn’t happen.”

Benilde, still winless in 11 games, is aching to nail its first victory. The Blazers will be relying on Carlo Young, JJ Domingo, Christian Fajarito, slam dunk winner Yankie Haruna and Edward Dixon to get past the Altas.

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