THEY both posted triple-doubles but Jiovani Jalalon won his personal duel against Scottie Thompson after Arellano survived Perpetual Help in overtime, 84-77, Friday in Season 91 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The third-year Arellano court general finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and one steal, and outshone his pro-bound Perpetual Help counterpart, who registered his fifth triple-double of 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.
“Na-challenge ako sa kanya kasi siya papunta na sa pro, ako andito pa (sa NCAA). Naisip ko siguro kaya ko rin ang ginagawa niya,” said Jalalon.
The pride of Cagayan de Oro however, deferred to his teammates following the big win, citing the contributions of Zach Nichols, who had 14 points, and Dioncee Holts, Allen Enriquez, and Brylle Meca, who combined for 23 markers.
“Siguro advantage ko ‘yung bilis ko at saka nagke-create ako sa teammates ko,” said Jalalon. “At nakatulong (ang teammates ko), ang laki ng tulong nila sa akin at saka ang mga big man.”
It’s the opposite in Thompson’s case.
The Barangay Ginebra draftee, had to do it all alone for the Altas as only two others finished in double figures for the team in Nigerian Prince Eze and Antonio Coronel, who had 19 and 16 points, respectively.
But the soft-spoken native of Digos City, Davao, was quick to say fatigue caught up with him as he failed to deliver for the Altas especially in the overtime period.
“Kinapos lang, tapos sa overtime nag-off kami. And mas ginusto ng Arellano manalo,” said Thompson, who played for 41 minutes.
“Ginagawa ko lang lahat para manalo pero bandang huli wala na,” he added. “Ako, pinipilit ko siya (Jalalon) i-press, kaso lang ‘di na kaya ng legs ko. Pagod na ako, sobra.”
Despite the loss, Thompson said he enjoyed his match up with Jalalon.
“Siguro parehas kami gusto manalo, binibigay namin ang best namin pero mas ginusto nila,” he said. “Parehas naman kami nagta-trabaho eh kaya na-enjoy ko ang laro.”
Arellano and Perpetual Help ended up tied for third spot at the end of the game with similar 8-4 cards, behind co-leaders San Beda and Letran, both with 10-2 records.