(Mall of Asia Arena)
1 p.m. -- Mapua vs. San Beda (J/ finals)
4 p.m. -- Arellano vs. San Beda (S/ finals)
WITH its backs against the wall, Arellano University needs to release everything what’s left on its sleeves to finally beat San Beda and live another day.
An able Jiovanni Jalalon, who had to deal with cramps late in the Chiefs’ 85-88 loss to the Red Lions last Thursday is what coach Jerry Codiñera wants in Game 2 of the NCAA seniors basketball championship today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“The team right now is trying to address concerns pertaining health issues of the players and adjustments for Game 2,” said Codiñera on the eve of the 4 p.m. clash.
San Beda seeks to complete its domination of Arellano this season and annex a record 20th title to slay the ghost of last season’s Finals debacle when the Mendiola-based cagers lost to bitter rival Letran in an epic three-game series.
It is now up for the Chiefs to make the championship interesting, especially for Jalalon, whose questionable late-game decisions also cost them the opener.
Codiñera believes that the real Jalalon will show up in Game 2.
“I’m confident that he will be determined coming to the game,” said Codiñera.
In Game 1, Arellano missed four field goal attempts and turned the ball over a couple of times in the final two minutes of play which spelled its doom.
The Chiefs were left dazed with the impressive showing of Lions swingman Robert Bolick on both ends of the floor.
Aside from delivering clutch baskets, Bolick’s tough defense on Jalalon keyed San Beda’s victory.
“Look at him right now, I knew he (Bolick) was tired. Nobody can guard Jalalon, nobody. But he was there every play,” said Lions coach Jamike Jarin.
Despite the momentum on San Beda’s side, Jarin is very much aware that closing out is so hard to do as his troops need to stay focused and sharp.
An Arellano win will send the series to a deciding Game 3 slated on Thursday at the same Pasay venue.
Mapua, meanwhile, seeks to end the Red Cubs’ seven-year stranglehold in the juniors division as the Red Robins go for the jugular at 1 p.m.
The league will honor the individual awardees led by Mapua’s back-to-back seniors MVP Allwell Oraeme prior to Game 2.