AS its preseason campaign winds down, Arellano is looking to pull off one big win in preparation for the coming Season 92 of the NCAA.
The Chiefs face De La Salle Archers in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup finals on Sunday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan with an eye on a first ever league championship.
A win by the Chiefs will not only give them a very first title in the annual meet, but also reassert their label as a heavy title favorite in the new NCAA season slated to open on June 25.
Led by Gilas cadet member Jio Jalalon, the Chiefs have emerged as the top squads in the country’s oldest collegiate league, having won major preseason crowns including the Fr. Martin Cup, Got Skills, and a few pocket tournaments in the provinces.
But just don’t tell that to Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera, who is zeroing in on the Fiioil title, a first for the school if the Chiefs get past the unbeaten the Green Archers.
“Hindi namin tinitignan ‘yung NCAA,” said Codinera. “Wag na muuna natin isipin ‘yung NCAA. Mas importante ‘yung Filoil. Mag-coconcentrate kami kung anong league kami. Very prestigious ‘yung Filoil.”
Jalalon was nothing less than impressive in Arellano’s 94-85 win over National University in the semifinals on Friday, scoring 34 points en route to a spot in the championship game.
The real test for the Chiefs however, is the Green Archers.
La Salle remained unbeaten in nine games with big man Ben Mbala, Jeron Teng, and the rest of the deep Archers bench looking to claim the crowne.
While the Chiefs are solid on the backcourt, Arellano will have its hands full controlling Mbala, who have been averaging double-double numbers for the Green Archers in the entire campaign.
“Contain lang,” said Codinera. “Parang Aroga din, we will just have to contain, match-up with him point-for-point, we will try to outwork him.”
Kent Salado could also be a key player for the Chiefs in the finals after chipping in 18 points, six assists, and four steals for his school against NU in the semis.