MNAILA -- After three matches apiece, the Perpetual Help Altas and the Arellano University Chiefs are both 3-0 in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup. The Altas defeated the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals, 61-52, while the Chiefs only left behind the tough Blazers in the final period for a 81-65 win.
In an error-filled and poor shooting day for both squads for Perpetual Help and EAC, the Generals hung tough, played defense, and nipped at the heels of the Altas. After Igee King drilled a triple from the top of the key to level the match at 44-all with 5:51 left to play, EAC thought they had Perpetual Help on the ropes. However, the Altas went on a 10-2 run highlighted by two triples from Gab Daganon for a luxurious 54-46 lead.
The Generals were able to cut the deficit to five, 57-52 after point guard Francis Munsayac split his free throws but Perpetual Help closed out the game by scoring the last four points, including a fastbreak dunk by forward-center Bright Akhuetie.
“I told the boys that there were going to be days when we cannot hit anything and where the opposition is tough that we commit errors,” said first year head coach Nosa Omorogbe. “We just have to be patient and go out and execute.”
Late in the second period, after EAC’s Jervin Guzman knocked down the second of three consecutive three-pointers to notch the score at 21-all, Perpetual Help scored the next eight points to put some distance once more from their dogged foe.
“We had an answer for all their runs and that is important,” noted Omorogbe of his team’s newfound resolve.
The Altas saw only two players in double figures with Daganon and Akhuetie each scoring 12 points each. Even with Gerald Dizon and John Ylagan misfiring, they found plenty of help from point guard Jon Yuhico, shooting guard Daryl Singontiko, and power forward Kervin Lucente who each scored eight points.
(READ: Codinera on Salado: ‘He’s the next driver after Jalalon’)
Perpetual Help wasn’t the only squad whose veterans were unable to score. The only EAC player to finish in double figure scoring was the unlikely Jervin Guzman who hit for 12 points all on three-pointers.
“While you can say that we are moving the ball better and playing better, we’re still 0-2,” said a disappointed first year EAC coach Aris Sison after the match. “We played them well and what hurt us was in the rebounding battle (41-31 in favor of Perpetual Help) from which they scored eight second chance points. Story of the ballgame.”
In the day’s other big game, the pace-setting Arellano Chiefs aren’t a one-man gang. After star guard Jiovani Jalalon went out of the game after sustaining cut above his left eye in the second quarter, Kent Salado took charge in the last 11 minutes of the match where he tallied nine points, four assists, two rebounds, and one steal, in a huge 81-75 win over the College of Saint Benilde.
The deep and talented Chiefs battled Benilde tooth and nail for the better part of three periods until Salado turned the Filoil Flying V Centre hardcourt into his personal playground. The two squads battled through four deadlocks and seven lead changes until the Chiefs’ forward-center Renzil Rivera scored on an undergoal stab to break a 52-all tie. Then Salado went to work as he harassed opposite number JJ Domingo and found teammates with behind the back no-look passes and skipping and dribble between his legs before launching himself for a lay-up.
“I was challenged by the tough Benilde team,” Salado said post-match. “And more so when Jio went out. We showed what we can do as a team.”
Jalalon sustained a cut above his left eye following an inadvertent elbow from CSB’s center Clement Leutcheu. Jalalon was rushed to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Greenhills, San Juan, where he received four stitches. Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera said that knowing Jalalon, he will be raring to play in their next match.
Arellano showed that it has a deep guard corps with Bylle Meca leading the way with 15 points. Salado finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists while Kraniel Villoria added 11.
Benilde was led by center Christian Fajarito who topscored with 21 points. Carlo Young added 14.
Arellano joined Perpetual Help as the only teams in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup with a 3-0 slate. Benilde fell to 0-3.
In other matches, the National University Bulldogs survived a furious end game rally by San Sebastian, 70-65, to go to a 2-1 slate.
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