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Clutch Jalalon takes charge as Arellano nips Lyceum anew

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Tiebreaker Times Clutch Jalalon takes charge as Arellano nips Lyceum anew AU Basketball LPU NCAA News  Topex Robinson NCAA Season 92 Seniors Basketball NCAA Season 92 Mike Nzeusseu Lyceum Seniors Basketball Lervin Flores Jio Jalalon Jerry Codinera Edcor Marata Arellano Seniors Basketball

The Bus Driver did not allow his team to lose back-to-back games.

The Arellano University Chiefs relied on the hot hands of Jio Jalalon to once again buck the Lyceum of the Philippines University, 78-75, to stay in the race for a top two spot, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

The Cagayan de Oro-native dropped 33 points in the game, bouncing back from a dismal 9-of-22 shooting against Perpetual – shooting 14-of-24 in the game. The High Chief scored 15 points in the final frame, including 11 of the last 15 Arellano points.

“We really needed that,” Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera said about the clutch performance of Jalalon. “Very precise and accurate yung decision making niya.”

Up by seven entering the second half, the Pirates relied on the combined efforts of MJ Ayaay and Mike Nzeusseu to chip in to the lead. Edcor Marata then gained the touch, scoring five straight point, to give Lyceum its first taste of the lead, 54-61 with two minutes remaining in the quarter.

“Nakakatakot. Yung Lyceum bumabalik. Kala ko nga talo na kami,” the 24 year old floor general shared.

The Pirates continued to surge in the final frame, holding a 67-64 lead with four minutes left in the game after it was deemed that Kent Salado’s free throws were nullified due to a missed call by the officials.

Not wanting to absorb back-to-back defeats this season, Jalalon took matters into his own hands.

The Gilas cadet scored on an array of jumpers off of his uncanny dribbling ability, torching the Lyceum backcourt. Louie Magbuhos and MJ Ayaay had no answer for Jalalon as he led the Chiefs’ 12-4 rally, scoring 11 during that stretch, that gave Arellano a 76-71 lead with 34 ticks remaining.

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“Sabi ko nga kay coach nung gumagawa na plays, sa akin na lang,” Jalalon shared. “Alam ko naman mismatch si Ayaay, pinapatira niya ako ng three-points kaya kung nag-dridrive ako, umaatras siya, buti na lang nashoo-shoot naman.”

After two conversions from the stripe by Ayaay, the Pirates could not get a stop, fouling Salado who converted on two freebies to seal the win.

“Hirap kahit sa start. It’s not really easy kasi marami silang big guards,” Codinera remarked about another close encounter with Lyceum. “Nacha-challenge sila when they go up against Jiovani. Buti na lang nandiyan yung bench support at may tulong din sa depensa yung third group namin.”

Lervin Flores and Kent Salado added 15 and 13 points respectively for the Chiefs.

For Lyceum, MJ Ayaay made a living from the foul stripe, going 12-of-14 to finish the game with 18 points. Mike Nzeusseu added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

The Arellano Chiefs (11-3) will look to lock in on its grip on the second seed on Friday, September 9 against the Letran Knights at 4:00pm. The Lyceum Pirates (5-10) will now play the role of spoilers, facing the San Beda Red Lions on the same day at 4:00pm.

“Focus na lang kami sa things we can control and pursue the one or two position,” Codinera closed as his team is now in solo second in the standings.

The Scores:

AU (78) — Jalalon 33, Flores 15, Salado 13, Aguilar 5, Viloria 3, Zamora 3, Cadavis 2, Enriquez 2, Gumaru 1, Holts 1, Meca 0, Nichols 0.

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LPU (75) — Ayaay 18, Marata 15, Nzeusseu 14, Caduyac 7, Soliman 6, Gabayni 5, Baltazar 4, Alban 3, Magbuhos 2, Rubite 1, Bulawan 0, Malabanan 0.

Quarterscores: 17-11; 36-29; 55-55; 78-75.

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