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Jalalon wills Arellano past San Beda, keeps Final Four hopes alive



Two heartbreaking losses to the Mapua Cardinals and the Letran Knights were enough to motivate Jio Jalalon and the Arellano Chiefs

With a loss haunting to end their season, Jiovani Jalalon powered the Arellano University Chiefs in sweeping their season series against their last year’s championship foes, San Beda College Red Lions in an 91-72 victory and more importantly keep their Final Four hopes alive, Thursday night at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The bus driver Jio Jalalon was early with his first trip as he romped up the game’s first seven points including two quick bombs from downtown. This dictated the pace for the Chiefs as they were on a scoring streak early and eventually build an 11-4 lead with just three minutes into the game. They increased their lead to as high as 14 during the first half with Brylle Meca also punching in big for the Arellano starters. Javee Mocon was huge off the bench as he scored six of San Beda’s 8-0 run with 2:18 left in the first but was extinguisjed by a triple by Donald Gumaru in the last Arellano play.

Gaining some sort of momentum heading their way, the bench players scored the points to slice Arellano’s lead with Donald Tankoua and Acee Soberano combining for a 7-2 spurt with 7:40 left in the second period. With pressure defense and Arellano’s bench players struggling to get the offense going, Baser Amer’s basket halfway through the second cut the deficit to 33-30, the closest the Red Lions has been in the first half. However, Arellano had the last laugh of the period with Jalalon and company stringing up a 15-7 ending to it with a combination of jumpers and fast break layups during the stretch.

The battle of the centers ensued scoring-wise with Ola Adeogun and Dioncee Holts making the offense work for their respective teams. In addition for the Red Lions, they were able to run again in transition and back to back layups by Ryusei Koga made it a 50-54 game, still in favor of the Chiefs with six mins left in the third. Afterwards, Holts punched in a three-ball that was followed up by a 16-6 scoring rampage by the Chiefs. The stretch included stops from steals and deflections that led to baskets for Jalalon, Zac Nichols and Kent Salado to finish the third canto on top by 17.

While the starters were still on the floor to start the period, Arellano put on the finishing touches to pound the five-time defending champions. Points came the hard way for the Red Lions as offense was on full tank for Arellano. As he drew defense, Jalalon started dishing to his teammates as they secured the wire-to-wire win and stay very much alive in the season.

The win ties Arellano University with the JRU Heavy Bombers and the Perpetual Altas for the third and fourth Final Four slot. The San Beda Red Lions though need just one more win to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage

“Hirap talaga. Sabi ko sa kanila before the game, ‘this is your last chance,’” coach Jerry Condinera said after the game. The defensive minister was proud of his team because they did not waver in after two crushing losses. “Ang bibigat ng last two games namin yung Mapua and Letran. I’m just so happy that their character sticked well. Di sila na dishearten.”

Moreover, he was proud of how Jalalon powered and guided his teammates all throughout the game in saying, “Yung mga teammates niya alam naman to handle the lead pero si Jio talaga nag stabilize.” While for Jalalon, he was laser-focused on the game as his teammates could not talk to him even in practice. “Kanina nag fofocus lang ako. Kahit nung kinakausap ako ni Dioncee, nakakatutok lang ako sa game. Nagpapasalamat ako sa teammates ko kasi nagtulong tulong kami,” Jalalon disclosed.

Smart Elite ambassador Jio Jalalon led all scorers with 25 points. He almost notched a triple-double also in adding seven boards and eight dimes. He was also excellent from the field in shooting 9/13. Allen Enriquez also had his best outing for the season with 15 points and four boards.

The big three of Art Dela Cruz, Baser Amer, and Ola Adeogun were limited to a combined 31 points. Adeogun scored 17 points to topscore for the defending champions while dela Cruz scored just 7 points and committed ten turnovers. Baser Amer only had four points on 2/12 shooting but was able to grab six boards and dish six assists.

As a team, the Chiefs shot excellent from the field in shooting 48%, including 39% from three-point country. Furthermore, excellent ball movement resulted to Arellano assisting on 25 of their 36 made field goals.

The Arellano Chiefs (11-6) will have the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals in their final assignment at 2:00pm on Tuesday, October 6 while the San Beda Red Lions (12-5) will face their rivals, the Letran Knights, on the same day at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

AU (91) – Jalalon 25, Enriquez 15, Meca 11, Holts 10, Salado 10, Gumaru 9, Cadavis 6, Nicholls 5, Capara 0, Bangga 0, Ongolo-ongolo 0, Ortega 0, De Guzman 0, Zamora 0, Tano 0

SBC (72) – Adeogun 17, Dela Cruz 10, Mocon 8, Soberano 7, Koga 6, Tankoua 6, Tongco 6, Amer 4, Reyes 2, Bonsubre 2, Presbitero 2, Solera 2, Cabanag 0

Quarters: 27-18, 48-37, 73-56, 91-72