LAST year’s runner-up Arellano University Chiefs utilized fine shooting skills to subdue the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 92-80, on Tuesday in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Jiovani Jalalon, Zach Nicholls and Dioncee Holts provided heavy firepower to bag the Chiefs’ second win in three outings. The Chiefs remain strong at No.4 behind San Beda College Red Lions (2-0), Letran Knights (2-0) and solo leader University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas (3-0).
The Chiefs lone setback was at the hands of Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers (61-78) during the opening game on June 27. But since then coach Jerry Codinera’s remain true to the form that game them a runner-up finish last year after just six years of being a member of the oldest collegiate league in the country.
Jalalon, a member of the Gilas Cadets that won the basketball crown in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, finished with a rare triple-double on 12 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists. He had also a steal off Chirst Fernan Mejos for an easy lay-up to widen their lead to 16 points, 68-52, with still 2:32 remaining in the third period.
Using tight defense, the Chiefs took a big 20-point lead, 64-44, on Michael Salado’s jumper. From that point on, all the Generals can do was reduce the gap to nine points, 76-85, on Sidney Onwubere’s back-to-back baskets with only 2:48 to go.
The 6’3 Filipino-Canadian Zach Nicholls also finished with 18 points including four triples for the Arellano Chiefs while the 6’7 Onwubere scored a game-high 26 points for the Generals plus 11 points from Adoum Abba Mbang.
With their third straight defeat, the EAC Generals dropped to the bottom of the standings. They are hoping to win over the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers on Friday to finally enter the win column.
In the other game, The San Sebastian College – Recoletos Stags beat the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers 91-89 in overtime. San Sebastian’s Ryan Paule Costelo was declared Best Player of the game.