ARELLANO compounded the misery of San Sebastian with a 101-98 escape act on Wednesday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Chiefs climbed out of a huge double-digit hole behind the heroics of Jiovani Jalalon, Keith Agovida, and Allen Enriquez to deal the Stags their sixth straight loss and seventh overall in 10 games.
Arellano notched its ninth victory in 10 outings to keep a share of the lead with San Beda, which started the second round with a narrow win over lowly Mapua.
“Second round na, ibang level ng intensity ang na-set ng San Sebastian,” Chiefs coach Jerry Codinera said. “Akala ko hindi namin masasabayan.”
In a high-scoring battle between two exciting squads, it was Jalalon who proved the difference with the timely plays down the stretch.
The considered top local All-Star snub buried a right-wing triple that knotted the count at 94 then stole the leather on the Stags’ next possession off a timeout, leading to Agovida, who was a late scratch in the dunk contest, drawing a foul and making two charities to give the Chiefs a 96-94 cushion.
Although CJ Perez retaliated with a stab to knot the count anew, Enriquez scored on a three-point play on the other end—off another Jalalon assist—to give the Chiefs the lead for good.
Jalalon flirted with a triple-double, tallying 19 points, nine boards, and eight assists on top of two steals, while Agovida added 16 points and 10 boards along with four assists and one block.
The loss put to naught the efforts of Perez, who also put up all-around numbers of 23 points, 11 boards, eight assists, and two steals.
Jamil Ortuoste recovered from a slump by pumping in 20 points and five assists, but all went to waste for Stags, who squandered a 56-42 lead near the end of the second quarter.
AU 101 – Jalalon 19, Agovida 16, Holts 15, Pinto 14, Enriquez 11, Hernandez 8, Nicholls 6, Ciriacruz 4, Gumaru 2, Salcedo 2, Palma 2, Cadavis 2, Caperal 0
SSC 98 – Perez 23, Ortuoste 20, Guinto 18, Dela Cruz 15, Yong 12, Costelo 4, Balucanag 2, Calisaan 2, Pretta 2, Mercado 0
Quarterscores: 22-25, 44-56, 72-78, 101-98