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Games Today (The Arena, San Juan)
9 a.m. – Mapua vs JRU (jrs)
10:45 a.m. – San Beda vs Letran (jrs)
12:30 p.m. – Perpetual vs Arellano (jrs)
2:15 p.m. – San Sebastian vs St. Benilde (jrs)
4 p.m. – EAC vs Lyceum (jrs)
By KRISTEL SATUMBAGAArellano University leaned on its lofty pre-season billing as it turned back a mighty University of Perpetual Help, 83-78, yesterday in the 92nd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Chiefs underscored their title campaign in the last three minutes of the game to pick up their first win and join early winners San Beda and Mapua at the helm.
Carrying a slim 77-76 lead with 2:30 left, Zach Nichols set the tone for Arellano with a corner triple after taking advantage of a possession turnover from Perpetual before a Kent Salado drive gave them the needed 82-76 cushion.
The Altas struggled for a basket since then as the Chiefs held on to their advantage until the final buzzer.
Jio Jalalon spearheaded Arellano’s assault with 25 points including three triples, while hauling nine boards and dishing off three assists. Salado chipped in 14 markers and six rebounds.
Lervin Flores took charge of the defensive side by grabbing 13 rebounds.
Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera admitted they had a hard time snaring the victory despite taking advantage on the absence of Perpetual center Bright Akhuetie, who is resting his knee.
“They played well nung wala si Bright. Mas parang may fire sila. Kami naman medyo tight, pero mabuti at nakuha namin yung panalo this early,” said Codiñera.
ARELLANO 83 – Jalalon 25, Salado 14, Holts 9, Flores 8, Canete 6, Gumaru 6, Nichols 6, Alcoriza 2, Cadavis 2, Gupitan 2, Meca 2, Enriques 1, Aguilar 0, Villoria 0.
PERPETUAL 78 – Dagangon 17, Dizon 12, Eze 12, Pido 8, Singontiko 8, Cabiltes 6, Hao 6, Sadiwa 5, Gallardo 4, Coronel 0.
Quarters: 25-24, 45-46, 64-64, 83-78.