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La Salle staves off Jalalon's early barrage, claims fourth FilOil title

Aldrin Alejo
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--La Salle slowly crept into a hot start from Arellano behind Jio Jalalon and took the FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup championship in the final at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday night.

The Green Archers stayed in step with the Chiefs and finally pulled away in the fourth quarter to put into naught another explosion from the Gilas Cadet for their fourth championship in the said tourney.

Jalalon fired 18 points behind six triples while tallying two rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the first quarter alone as he led Arellano to a 26-21 lead at the end of the quarter. The team would stretch the lead to as high as 11, 32-21, with 8:12 left in the second.

But La Salle slowly bounced back and eventually took a 54-52 lead on an Aljun Melecio basket with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter. They would pull away for good thanks to a pivotal 11-0 run that spilled to the fourth to stretch the lead to double digits.

Ben Mbala, who was adjudged the tournament MVP earlier Sunday, tallied 28 points, 26 rebounds, two assists, and eight blocks. The 26 boards and eight swats are new tournament records.

Jalalon would finish with 32 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals, but went 1-of-4 from deep in the final three periods.

In the earlier game, Ateneo took third place honors with a 66-54 win against NU behind 18 points and 17 rebounds from Chibueze Ikeh.

Box Scores:

La Salle 86-Mbala 28, Tratter 13, Teng 13, Torres 9, Caracut 7, Montalbo 5, Melecio 5, Go 4, Gob 2, Dyke 0, Langston 0

Arellano 74-Jalalon 32, Salado 16, Flores 6, Gumaru 5, Enriquez 4, CaƱete 3, Nicholls 2, Cadavis 2, Meca 2, Aguilar 2, Holts 0, Villoria 0, Ongolo 0, Gupilan 0

Quarterscores: 21-26, 40-42, 61-58, 86-74

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno