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Clutch Jalalon lifts Arellano past Benilde



The Arellano University Chiefs need every win they can get as one loss could easily knock them off a top four spot in the 91st season of the NCAA. Smart Elite Ambassador Jiovanni Jalalon did not allow his team to fall against the College of Saint Benilde Blazers in making the clutch shots in an 86-82 victory Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Chiefs started flat in the game in missing point blank shots and committing unforced turnovers. The squad from Taft Avenue took advantage of this in blasting their opponents with a 10-0 run. The returning Jonathan Grey, who was suspended by the team for a game, scored six of the team’s first ten points. Season 90’s runners-up only put up their first field goal at the 4:07 mark after a fastbreak layup by Jalalon. Slowly, the Legarda-based squad chipped in to the lead and, eventually, took the lead,14-13, behind seven straigh points by Donald Gumaru. However, three straight three-pointers capped by back-to-back bombs by Raph Nayve closed the opening chapter of the game with CSB leading 29-16.

“The Canadian Gunslinger” Zachary Nicholls then made his presence felt at the opening minutes of the second stanza in knocking down long-range shots to extend the Arellano lead to four, 28-24. The Blazers, though, continued their hot sniping as JJ Domingo and Travis Jonson converted on triples to gain a solitary point lead. Jalalon then closed the quarter with a great find to fellow Cagayan de Oro-native Kent Salado, who converted on a nifty double pump layup to give the Chiefs a 38-37 lead to enter halftime.

Perimeter defense became a problem for the Chiefs as the Blazers’ constant passing on the perimeter bewildered Arellano. The troika of Domingo, Jonson, and Fons Saavedra knocked a total of five threes in the quarter that eventually gave the Blazers its biggest lead of the game 56-47 with 2:52 remaining. Salado and Jalalon’s became aggressive in slashing through the lanes to close the quarter to cut the lead to five, 60-55.

Great interior passing by the Chiefs powered them to a huge game-altering 15-5 spurt. Holts gained the hot hand in knocking down long range jumpers highlight by a huge three pointer coming from a Nicholls-assist to give AU a 73-58 lead with 5:07 remaining. The Blazers tried to power back with three-pointers by Saavedra and Grey to cut the lead to three but a huge pull-up jumper by Jalalon gave the Chiefs a five-point cushion with 1:15 to go. A JR Ongteco hook shot cut the lead to just two but free throws by Jalalon iced the game at 86-82 in favor of the Arellano Chiefs.

“Every win is a must-win game from now on,” said Arellano head coach Jerry Condinera. He further added that the team cannot dwell with the result from the past game. Moreover, he emphasized that the team cannot be complacent at any point of any game as seen in the Chiefs’ slow first quarter start.

Smart Elite ambassador Jio Jalalon led his team with 20 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. In addition, five other Chiefs scored in double-figures, including a double-double production by Allen Enriquez with 14 points and 11 boards.

For the green side, Smart Elite ambassador Jonathan Grey scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out five assists. Blazer hotshot JJ Domingo also scored in double-figures with 16 points, including three triples.

As a team, the Chiefs were excellent from the field in shooting 49%. However, the Blazers were able to keep it close in converting on 15 three-pointers during the game.

The Arellano Chiefs will have a week-off as they face the Lyceum Pirates next on Tuesday, September 8 at 4:00pm while the Blazers look to break their losing streak against the EAC Generals on Friday, September 4 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
AU (86) – Jalalon 20, Holts 15, Enriquez 14, Salado 12, Nicholls 11, Gumaru 11, Bangga 2, Cadavis 1, Capara 0, Meca 0, De Guzman 0, Zamora 0, Tano 0.
CSB (82) – Grey 22, Domingo JJ 16, Saavedra 14, Jonson 13, Nayve 9, Ongteco 5, Fajarito 2, Sta. Maria 1, Deles 0, Castor 0, San Juan 0.
Quarterscores: 16-22, 38-37, 55-60, 86-82.

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