Jiovani Jalalon came through with his season-best performance as Arellano University turned back Mapua, 95-82, on Tuesday, to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of the NCAASeason 92 Men’s Basketball Division at the FilOil Flying V Arena, San Juan.
Jalalon unleashed 35, two points shy of his career-high 37 points that he scored last season, to power the Chiefs to their 14th victory against three defeats, while booking the important Final Four bonus.
The Gilas Pilipinas standout shone the brightest in the fourth quarter when he uncorked a 13-point barrage that transformed what was once a close contest to a runaway victory.
“He’s the Jio Jalalon we all know and he played big again for us”, said Arellano U coach Jerry Codinera.
Jalalon made 15 of his 28 shots and did everything he could to help his team win by adding five rebounds, and the same number of assists and steals in a Herculean effort that boosted his MVP stock.
His chief rival, reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme, played solidly with 13 points, 20 boards, four assists and two blocks.
Jalalon though had the last laugh.
Arellano U could formally clinch the top seed if it could hurdle San Beda in the final day of the elimination round on Friday.
The Cardinals, who were sperheaded by CJ Isit’s 25 points, slid to their 11-6 record, and will clash with Perpetual Help on Friday.
Arellano U (95) – Jalalon 35, Salado 15, Gumaru 15, Cadavis 7, Flores 6, Canete 5, Enriquez 4, Nicholls 3, Meca 3, Villoria 2, Holts 0, Aguilar 0
Mapua (82) – Isit 25, Menina 16, Oraeme 13, Eriobu 8, Orquina 7, Raflores 6, Estrella 3, Aguirre 2, Serrano 2, Victoria 0, Bunag 0
QUARTERSCORES: 16-13, 45-35, 67-63, 95-82