Jiovanni Jalalon’s 16 assists leads Arellano University (AU) Chiefs to its fourth straight win in a 104-92 win over the San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Stags early Friday evening at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
The first half was close with the Chiefs clinging on to a 43-39 lead. Right in the opening minutes of the first quarter, Arellano rookie, and Cagayan native, Brylle Meca fell to a sprained ankle after scoring the game’s opening points. Moreover, the zone defense of San Sebastian clogged the lanes that resulted to a dismal one of six shooting for star guard Jiovanni Jalalon. Fortunately for the Chiefs, the bench more than stepped up for them in scoring 30 of their 43 points led by Zachary Nicholls and Kent Salado’s 12 combined points. The Stags were able to keep close behind the hot shooting of Jon Ortouste, who scored 11 first half points with three conversions from downtown, and the inside scoring of San Sebastian twin towers Bradwyn Guinto and Michael Calisaan.
In the first half, San Sebastian shot 54% from the field and were on the charity stripe ten times, converting on seven. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had no attempts from the stripe as the Stags committed just three fouls in the first two quarters. However, the Stags committed 16 turnovers just in the first half. Those turnovers led to 19 turnover points for the Chiefs.
To open the third quarter, San Sebastian was able to gain a solitary point lead behind a putback by Jeick Fabian and a three-point play by Calisaan. The two squads then exchanged leads before Jalalon took over. Already having five assists in the first half, the Cagayan-native broke down the zone of the Stags and dished out to open teammates. During that span, Jalalon was able to gain five more assists with John Zamora and Salado being the main beneficiaries, connecting on three shots from downtown. The Stags then staged a rally of their own as Ortouste and Pretta converted on three pointers of their own while free throws by Jayson David with 5.3 remaining cut the lead back down to just two, 68-66. However, an unnecessary foul by David on Salado resulted to a free throw conversion to give Arellano a 69-66 lead to enter the final frame.
Jalalon took over the game in the fourth quarter. As the Stags defense collapsed on him, the league leader in assists found the right angles to dish out to his teammates. Donald Gumaru converted on back-to-back three pointers but was answered right back by Pretta. Jalalon was then able to find Holts for a three pointer and a layup to give the Chiefs a ten-point lead with 7:48 to go. In two straight sequences, Jalalon found Nicholls for a layup and a three-pointer but was answered right back by Guinto’s six straight points. A floater by Jalalon and another three pointer by Gumaru, the Chiefs’ sixth in the quarter, maintained their cushion with 2:26 to go. The Stags tried to stage a late rally, cutting the lead to just five 92-97, but eventually fell due to turnovers and free throw conversions by their opponents. The Chiefs won their fourth straight with the score of 104-92.
After the game, Coach Jerry Condinera said that as the season goes deeper, he is seeing the improvements of the team. “We are improving and I saw on what we need to work sa defense namin,” he said. Moreover, they expected to be in a dog fight against the Stags like they did today. “Talagang alam ko na San Sebastian will put up a good fight,” the Defensive Minister said. “They started strong and si Ortouste delivered and especially their big guys. Lahat kasi ng team na may big time na big man, we get dominated.”
American student-athlete Dioncee Holts top scored for the Chiefs with 21 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds. Four other Chiefs scored 13 points each, Nicholls, Gumaru, Enriquez, and Salado. But the man of the game was Jalalon as he was able to dish out 16 assists, a season-high. For the Stags, Guinto again had a monster double-double with 26 points and 18 rebounds.
As a team, the Chiefs converted on a total of 14 three pointers, a season-high. In addition, they committed just 11 turnovers in the game oppose to the 24 committed by the Stags that resulted to 28 turnover points.
The AU Chiefs will next face the CSJL Knights on Friday, July 31 at 4:00pm while the SSC-R Stags will square-off EAC Generals on the same day at 2:00pm
AU (104) – Holts 21, Nicholls 13, Gumaru 13, Enriquez 13, Salado 13, Zamora 9, Jalalon 8, Ortega 5, Bangga 4, Meca 3, Cadavis 2, Ongolo 0, Tano 0.
SSC-R (92) – Guinto 26, Calisaan 20, Ortuoste 17, Costelo 9, Pretta 9, Fabian 5, Bragais 2, David 2, Mercado 2, Sibal 0, Vera 0, Capobres 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 43-39, 69-66, 104-92.