After barely surviving their killer stretch in the first-round of the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney, Arellano U’s veteran Chiefs should already have a clear view of how tough and demanding the climb is going to their desired destination.
And Arellano U coach Jerry Codiñera intends to lessen the pressure on his wards as they take on Emilio Aguinaldo College on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City, with the Chiefs seeking nothing less than a confidence-restoring performance.
“We will just try to keep things simple and focus on our game plan consistently,” he said in SMS message sent to FOX Sports on the eve of their 12 noon clash with the slumping Generals, losers of their last four matches and toting a 1-4 card.
One of the pro league’s greats, Codiñera knows exactly what the Chiefs need following a sorry 86-101 setback dealt by host San Beda lat Friday when they led by as many as 22 points early, only to suffer a major collapse in the stretch.
In that disappointing loss, their second in the last three matches, the Chiefs exploded for 47 points in the first half but could only have 39 after the turn where they were even outscored by the Red Lions’ solid duo of Fil-Am rookie Davon Potts and Cameroon import Donald Tankoua, who combined for 43 during that searing and completed fightback.
Arellano U’s top playmaker Jiovani Jalalon woke up from his offensive stupor with a team-high 25 points and is expected to duplicate—or even surpass—that performance against the Generals’ backcourt of Francis Munsayac, Remy Morada and Igee King.
But Jalalon won’t fully do it all, hoping the likes of backcourt partner Kent Salado, athletic big man Lervin Flores and Zach Nichols could also bounce back from their recent struggles.
The Chiefs initially suffered a loss against defending champion Letran 79-89 last July 14 but recovered with an 88-75 victory over Mapua five days later.
With another relatively easy task against winless St. Benilde on Friday, Arellano U should take care of its latest assessment before dealing with a pair of dangerous foes in the mold of Lyceum on August 2 and Jose Rizal U on August 5. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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