Combo guard Jiovanni Jalalon’s spectacular performance powered Arellano University’s 79-68 victory over Jose Rizal University (JRU) in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
Jalalon finished with 18 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and three steals, while guard Kent Salado had a high output of 22 points plus six assists. Donald Gumaru posted 11 points and three assists also for Arellano.
The Chiefs are now on top of the standings with a 13-3 win-loss record.
“I was challenged by (Paolo) Pontejos’ performance. I need to step up and guide the team,” Jalalon told reporters during the postgame interview. “He is a very good player that’s why we really need a defensive player who can stop him.”
After a three-game winning streak, Arellano is one-game away from securing a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
Though tightly guarded, Pontejos still finished with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting in the field to lead the Heavy Bombers. JRU now has a 9-8 win-loss record after suffering back-to-back losses.
“Our defense has improved compared to our past few games. It really helps us a lot. We really need to be more consistent on offense though,” said Arellano University coach Jerry Codiñera.
The Heavy Bombers had a good 24-17 start but the Chiefs immediately countered with a 5-0 run resulting in a 41-34 advantage at the half.
The Chiefs, riding on Jalalon’s shooting and passing prowess controlled the rest of the match foiling all the Heavy Bombers’ attempts to bounce back.
Meanwhile, the 6’8 Nigerian center Allwell Oraeme notched 21 points, 26 rebounds and two blocks as Mapua Institute of Technology eliminated defending champion Colegio San Juan de Letran in the Final Four race, 77-72. Oraeme scored 6-of-11 in the field and 9-of-14 in the foul line, while Joseph Erioubu, Darell Menina and Denniel Aguirre contributed a combined 12 points for the Cardinals.
Mapua improved its win-loss record to 10-5.
“We cannot play like this in our three remaining games. We must learn how to close out the game properly. We must win one more game to formally reach the Final Four. The magic number is 11,” said, Mapua coach Atoy Co.
The Knights failed to enter the Final Four with an 8-9 win-loss record.
Swingman Rey Nambatac led Letran with 19 points and seven rebounds.
In the first game, Lyceum of the Philippines University also derailed University of Perpetual Help System DALTA’s entry into the Final Four with a 64-61 win. The Pirates, after halting a six-game losing skid, now hold a 6-11 win-loss record.
Reymar Caduyac scored 15 points to lead the Pirates, while Cameroonian Mike Nzeusseu posted 11 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Despite the loss, the Altas remained No. 3 with an 11-5 win-loss record.