Arellano University banked on a huge fourth quarter run to beat Emilio Aguinaldo College, 88-82, on Tuesday for its fourth victory this season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
After losing to San Beda, 86-101, on Friday, Arellano bounced back through the prolific scoring of Levin Flores, Jiovanni Jalalon and Zach Nichols to score a win.
“You just cannot take them [Emilio Aguinaldo College] for granted,” Arellano coach Jerry Codinera told The Manila Times. “EAC’s Hamadou Laminou is deceiving, but he is absolutely a stronger import than EAC’s former import [Cedric] Happi.”
After a slow first and second half, the Chiefs were lagging behind 62-66 by the end of third period. But Flores notched eight points while guard Jalalon and Nichols added a combined seven points to allow Arellano to outscore EAC 26 to 16 in the fourth quarter.
Nichols, who tallied seven points, scored a lay-up that ignited a 10-2 run helping the Chiefs seize the advantage in the middle of the payoff period, 72-68.
“No it wasn’t an ugly win but we need to improve more in our defense as a team. In fact, I was surprised that all the previous losses of the Generals were just very close. They lost by just one or two points,” Arellano head coach Jerry Codiñera said.
“I’m pretty sure they will be a strong team in the second round. EAC is no longer the whipping boys we know. They improved a lot. I’m not satisfied with the way we played defense in our previous games. We really need to improve more on our defense. But I’m happy with our offense so far. During my time in the PBA, I have both defense and offense,” added Codiñera.
Flores finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks while team captain Jalalon notched 15 points, 12 assists and three steals. Julius Cadavis and Rence Alcoriza posted 12 and 10 points, respectively, also for the Chiefs.
Hamadou Laminou led the Generals with 23 points and eight rebounds while Jorem Morada had 17 points and Sidney Onwubere 16 points and 14 rebounds.
The Generals’ win-loss record dropped to 1-5.
In the second game, Lyceum of the Philippines University posted an 83-79 win over San Sebastian College behind the impressive performance of Cameroonian import Mike Nzeusseu. The Pirates’ win-loss record improved to 3-3.
“Those San Sebastian guys were my former players when I was still coaching them, so they are really motivated to beat me. But my players also played well today,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson.
Ryan Costelo led the Golden Stags with 23 points.
San Sebastian College’s win-loss record fell to 1-5.