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Tiebreaker Times

AU

Jalalon, Arellano send Letran to the brink


The Chiefs continue their surge to the top of the NCAA ladder.

The Arellano University Chiefs broke their three-game losing streak to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, taking an 83-74 wire-to-wire win to send the defending champions to the brink of elimination, Friday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Jio Jalalon flirted with a triple-double once again with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists.

More important than the stats, though, was that the Arellano Chiefs were able to secure their Final Four berth after having missed the semifinals a season ago.

“Grabe effort. Walang game na hindi close,” reflected Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera on their journey. “Laking relief sa amin na nakuha namin yung Final Four.”

The Chiefs blasted the Knights in the first half. Jalalon sparked an 8-0 rally, capped by a triple by Zach Nicholls, to give Arellano a game-high 20 point lead, 40-20.

“I was trying to decipher Letran,” the “Defensive Minister” shared. “They really have character. Hindi sila nag-baback down.”

True enough, the defending champions fought back.

Behind Rey Nambatac and Jom Sollano, the Knights slowly chipped down the deficit, cutting the lead to just seven (66-73) with 2:25 left in the game.

Jalalon, who might be playing his final year with the Chiefs, did not want to lose another one to the Knights. The Cagayan de Oro native scored five of the last eight points of his team, responding to every Letran bucket. Free throws by Arellano’s floor general sealed the win for the Chiefs, 80-72, with 25.8 ticks remaining.

#ReadMore  Nambatac career-high powers Letran past EAC

Kent Salado added 12 markers for Arellano, while Donald Gumaru chipped in 10 points.

For the Knights, Rey Nambatac led the way with 28 points, but needed 26 attempts to do so. Jom Sollano added a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Arellano Chiefs (1st, 12-3) look to lock in on the top spot as they face the JRU Heavy Bombers (5th, 9-7) on Tuesday, September 13, at 2:00pm.

“Importante how we’ll maintain yung positive energy kasi naka final four kami,” Codinera said about his team’s last three games. “Try namin makuha yung Top Two.”

The Letran Knights (6th, 8-8) cannot afford to lose a single game. The defending champions face the Mapua Cardinals (4th, 9-5) on the same day at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

AU (83) – Jalalon 22, Salado 12, Gumaru 10, Cadavis 8, Holts 8, Nicholls 8, Meca 7, Flores 6, Villoria 2, Aguilar 0, Enriquez 0, Gupilan 0.

CSJL (74) – Nambatac 28, Sollano 15, Quinto 10, Balanza 9, Calvo 7, Luib 3, Apreku 2, Ambohot 0, Balagasay 0, Bernabe 0, Dela Pena 0.

Quarterscores: 20-10, 45-30, 65-53, 83-75.

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