ARELLANO sent Lyceum back to earth with a 68-60 victory over the Pirates on Saturday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Behind a balanced scoring effort, the Chiefs prevailed over a Pirates side that is fresh from a stunning 70-66 win over defending champion San Beda.
The Chiefs, tagged in the preseason as title favorites, atoned for their opening-day loss to San Sebastian as they evened their win-loss card to 1-1, the same record as the Pirates.
“Because of their composure, we were able to get over the hump,” Chiefs coach Koy Banal said after.
Rookie point guard Jiovani Jalalon stood tall for the Chiefs as the prized find from Cagayan de Oro City stepped up in the absence of starting guards Nard Pinto and Levi Hernandez in the endgame.
Hernandez had been leading the Chiefs in scoring before he was ejected with four minutes and 44 seconds to go in the third quarter when he committed a disqualifying foul on Pirates Cameroonian import Aziz Mbomiko.
Pinto, on the other hand, sat on the bench late in the game after suffering cramps.
Good thing there was Jalalon to take care of business, knocking in a team-high 13 points on top of four assists, two rebounds, and one steal.
Donald Gumaru also put up a stellar defensive job on Pirates star Shane Ko, who finished with just seven markers on 1-of-5 shooting and six turnovers, a far cry from his 23-point performance against the Lions.
“I just want to be consistent in this. Anybody can step up in any given game,” Banal said. “They won’t be a member of this team if they don’t have the capability.”
Mbomiko led the Pirates with 18 points and five rebounds.
Arellano (68) – Jalalon 13, Hernandez 11, Enriquez 10, Forrester 8, Pinto 7, Agovida 6, Caperal 4, Gumaru 4, Bangga 3, Salcedo 2, Nicholls 0, Margallo 0, Cadavis 0.
Lyceum (60) – Mbomiko 18, Mendoza 14, Ko 7, Francisco 6, Lacastesantos 6, Baltazar 4, Zamora 3, Azores 2, Soliman 0, Alanes 0, Ambohot 0, Lesmoras 0.
Quarterscores: 17-5; 33-26; 53-42; 68-60.