Rookie Jiovani Jalalon led the charge as the Arellano University Chiefs turned back Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates, 68-60, on Saturday in the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City.
Jalalon shot 13 points and hauled down four rebounds for the Chiefs’ first win.
Arellano shares the second spot with San Beda Red Lions, San Sebastian
Stags and Lyceum with similar 1-1 win-loss each.
They are just a game behind leaders Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, University of
Perpetual Help Altas and Letran Knights, who have identical 1-0 cards.
It was a sorry loss for the Pirates, who stunned the reigning champions
Red Lions, 70-66, last Monday behind Shane Ko’s 23 points.
The sophomore Ko could only manage 7 points on Saturday, allowing the Chiefs to jump to
an early 17-3 lead en route to a 33-26 halftime edge.
Aside from Jalalon of Cagayan de Oro City, the Chiefs got a notable feat from sophomore Canadian student James Forrester, who connected a triple on top of the key to protect their lead, 45-36, with 2:32 remaining in the third period. Forrester scored a jumper
and split a charity in the return play that preserved the Chiefs’ advantage, 56-46, going into the last 6:54 of the game.
Coach Koy Banal expressed elation over the victory, which enabled Arellano to bounce back from a heartbreaking setback to San Sebastian, 76-78, last Thursday.
Banal said he is expecting a tight race in the first round of the elimination.