Last season, the Arellano University Chiefs thin frontline was greatly exposed night in and night out by the elite big men in the NCAA.
This was more than evident during the Chiefs’ do-or-die game against the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals last October 13. During the game, the Chiefs only managed to grab 35 rebounds for the entire course of the game. On the other hand, reigning Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme alone grabbed 28 rebounds as he helped lead the Cardinals to the Final Four, eliminating Arellano in the process.
During the summer, 23 year old big man Lervin Flores has helped stabilize the erratic Arellano frontcourt that helped lead the school to its first Premier Cup finals appearance and, as well as, the Fr. Martin’s Cup championship.
In his NCAA debut, the Masantol, Pampanga-native played solidly in his 23 minutes of court time in tallying eight points, 13 rebounds, and two block shots, both against Perpetual big man Prince Eze.
“Sinasabihan ako ng mga coach at nila Jiovani [Jalalon] na mag trabaho lang ako lalo sa rebounding,” Flores said about his successful debut. “Talagang effort lang: sipag at rebound.”
Both head coach Jerry Codinera and Arellano senior Jio Jalon praised Flores for his work against Eze, who was limited to just 12 markers on 5-for-16 shooting. “6’10 yun at mahirap bantayan kasi malaki,” Codinera said. “Pero si Lervin pinahriapan niya si Eze. Hindi namin na-control ang rebounds but he had the crucial rebounds.”
“Sabi ko sa kanya halftime, huwag mo muna hanapin yung score. Akong bahala sayo. Mapapasahan ka rin,” Jalalon added.
“Sabi niya ‘sige.’ maganda ang trabaho niya Eze tapos nakaka-rebound siya at nakakadepensa siya.”
Flores is hoping that he can be that missing piece that can send the Chiefs and Jalalon back to the Finals. “Sana. Sipag lang at trabaho lang talaga,” he closed.
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