The Arellano University Chiefs survived an off-night from Jio Jalalon in a 96-65 rout of the Mapua Institute of Technnology Cardinals Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
After a horrid two-point outing in Arellano’s loss to the Letran Knights, Kent Salado bounced back in a huge way, scoring 20 points on an efficient 7-for-13 shooting clip. He added nine rebounds and two assists in the win.
“Yung laro namin sa Letran, pag-uwi ko nun down na down ako,” the Cagayan de Oro-native said. “Di ako nakaka-shoot, na-frustrate ako.
“Inisip ko naang na kailangan ko bumawi sa Mapua, lalo na medyo bad game si Jio.”
MVP Candidates Jajalon of Arellano and Allwell Oraeme of Mapua struggled in the opening half.
The Cardinals were able to hold Jalalon scoreless in 13 minutes of first half action. He was 0-for-8 fro the field while committing two turnovers.
On the other hand, Oraeme had already accumulated three fouls in the first 20 minutes of the game. The reigning MVP was just 1-for-5 from the field but had already grabbed 10 rebounds.
Salado and the Chiefs surged ahead in the third canto. Moreover, Oraeme was penalized with his fourth foul with 5:14 remaining in the quarter. The Mapua coaching staff though resisted to sit their big man that proved to be fatal. As the Cardinals were going on a fast break attempt with 3:29 remaining, Oraeme shoved Donald Gumaru in the paint resulting to his fifth and final foul of the game.
With Oraeme out, Salado was able to penetrate the paint to the tune of 12 third quarter points. More importantly for the Chiefs, its lead grew to 66-51 even without Jalalon for the majority of the quarter.
“We were preparing our backup guards kay Jio kasi marked man siya,” Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera said. “There are nights na talgagang ganito, bad days, ready naman si Aguilar and nakabalik din sa Salado.”
Mapua returnees Joseph Eriobu and Andrew Estrella tried to lift the Cardinals in the final frame. However, Jalalon toyed with the Cardinal defense while Lervin Flores scored eight of his 10 points in the quarter.
To finish of the game, Zach Nicholls gained the touch, knocking down four triples in a span of six minutes to give Arellano a game-high 92-68 lead with 1:29 remaining in the game.
Three other Chiefs scored in double-figures with Nicholls scoring 16 while Flores and Ariel Aguilar adding 10 points apiece.
“Super ang ganda ng nilaro namin,” Codinera gushed. “Talagang lahat sinunod nila after that tough loss against Letran kung saan down na down ang energy.”
The Cardinals were led by Estralla’s 20 points. Big men Justin Serrano and Eriobu combined for 24 points and 19 rebounds.
The Cardinals though shot a combined 33.75 percent from the field compared to a superior 42 percent shooting night for the Chiefs. Arellano was also able to outrebound Mapua, 61-55.
The Arellano Chiefs (3-1) will finish the toughest stretch of their season so far on Friday, July 22 against the San Beda Red Lions. Mapua (4-1) look to leave this loss behind as they face the San Sebastian Stags on the same day at 2:00pm.
AU (96) – Salado 20, Nicholls 16, Flores 10, Aguilar 10, Jalalon 8, Gumaru 7, Enriquez 6, Villaoria 5, Cadavis 4, Holts 4, Canete 4, Alcoriza 2, Meca 0, Gupilan 0.
MIT (75) – Estrella 20, Serrano 12, Eriobu 12, Isit 10, Oraeme 9, Bunag 6, Biteng 3, Orquina 3, Victoria 0, Raflores 0, Menina 0.
Quarterscores: 20-16, 33-29, 66-51, 96-75.