Arellano seen as top contender for NCAA Season 92 | Inquirer Sports

Arellano seen as top contender for NCAA Season 92

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 05:55 PM June 22, 2016

Jio Jalalon and the Arellano Chiefs.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Jio Jalalon and the Arellano Chiefs.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Arellano University, which missed the Final Four last year, emerged as the consensus favorite heading into the NCAA Season 92 which opens Saturday.

The Chiefs find themselves with a big target on their backs after having noteworthy stints in the preseason tournaments, including a runner-up finish in the Filoil tournament earlier this month.


“Arellano had an impressive preseason. Arellano is the strongest team here,” said College of St. Benilde head coach Gabby Velasco during the league’s pre-season press conference Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.


READ: Jao expands referee pool for NCAA Season 92

“The team to beat right now is Arellano, of course. They have the best point guard in amateur basketball right now in Jiovani Jalalon and they have the best backup point guard right now in Kent Salado,” said San Beda head coach Jamike Jarin.

Chiefs head coach Jerry Codiñera said his team is ready to embrace the challenge of being the favorite, which he acknowledged as something that will serve as extra motivation for his players to deliver.

Codiñera, who steered Arellano to its first Finals appearance in 2014, also said his players should see the team’s standing last season as a reminder that nothing will come easy.

READ: Modest goal for reigning titlist Letran in NCAA Season 92

“You cant count out the top four teams because we’re the fifth place. So we still have something to work on and it’s really going to be a head on fight,” said Codiñera, whose squad lost to Mapua in a playoff for the last semifinals slot in Season 91, referring to Letran, San Beda, Jose Rizal University and Mapua.


The Red Lions, whose five-year reign ended at the hands of their rivals Letran Knights, are also in the conversation of championship contenders.

Jarin, though, was surprised the Lions are even considered given that they lost three of their star players in Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer and Art dela Cruz.

READ: San Beda upbeat despite younger roster for NCAA Season 92

The Knights, who ended a decade-long title drought, begin a new chapter following the departure of standouts Kevin Racal and Mark Cruz who are now playing in the pros. Letran also has a new head coach in Jeff Napa, who replaced Aldin Ayo.

The Cardinals will again be led by rookie-MVP Allwell Oraeme in their title bid while the Heavy Bombers target a deeper run with an intact roster.

Perpetual Help is also being looked at as a potential Final Four team despite the absence of one-time MVP Scottie Thompson.

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San Sebastian, Lyceum, St. Benilde and Emilio Aguinaldo College hope to pull off surprises and crack the Final Four.

TAGS: Arellano University, Basketball, Jio Jalalon, NCAA, NCAA Season 92, Sports

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