Arellano University banked on a strong fourth quarter plays on Sunday while San Sebastian College (SSC) gave head coach Egay Macaraya a winning debut in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Chiefs, riding on playmaker Jio Jalalon’s explosive performance, pulled off a pulsating 83-78 win over the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta to join Saturday opening day winners San Beda College and Mapua Institute of Technology.
Jalalon dazzled with 25 points, including 13 points in the first half, along with nine rebounds and three assists plus two steals to lead the Chiefs, while forward Kent Salado posted 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting in the field and grabbed six rebounds.
“We have a hard time getting our first win and I’m happy that we are able to secure it today in our first game,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera in a post-game interview. “He (Jalalon) played like an MVP to us and it was our defense the rest of the game.”
Donald Gumaru, Jalalon and Salado scored four points each in the pivotal fourth quarter stretch allowing Arellano to outscore Perpetual in the last period, 19-14, and win the game.
It was a tight contest between the two teams as they split the first half leading only with one point (25-24 and 45-46) in the first and second quarter.
Dioncee Holts scored nine points and Lervin Flores added eight points and 13 rebounds plus two blocks also for the Chiefs.
Big man Gab Dagangon, stepping up in the absence of 6’8 Bright Akhuetie, scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Altas, while Prince Eze had 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Akhuetie is nursing a knee sprain.
The Golden Stags, meanwhile, survived a grueling opening game by posting a low-scoring 54-49 win over the College of Saint Benilde Blazers to join the other opening game winners.
Despite the messy 25 turnovers, the Golden Stags leaned on Jerick Fabian who notched in just 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Michael Calisaan and Regille Ilagan merged for 16 points also for San Sebastian.
“It was a close one. At least, we were able to learn from our mistakes,” said Macaraya.
Forward Jay Jay Domingo posted only 10 points while Alfonso Saavedra contributed nine points to lead the Blazers, who absorbed 28 errors in the game.
San Sebastian out-rebounded College of Saint Benilde 47-40.