Bright Akhuetie draws solid support as Perpetual Help claims solo 2nd spot

Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican continues to be satisfied with the way his prized import Bright Akhuetie has been doing most of the damage.

But he is more pleased to see the Altas’ locals providing the needed support anew amid their winning run.

Wingman Gab Dagangon and his fellow locals came up big anew as Perpetual Help coasted to a wire-to-wire 70-53 win over Emilio Aguinaldo College on Tuesday afternoon to momentarily gain the solo second spot in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney at The Arena in San Juan City.

While the 6-foot-7 Akhuetie flashed his usual dominant form all-game long, the 6-foot-2 Dagangon, Daryl Singontiko and AJ Coronel came through with big plays down the stretch to help the Altas foil the Generals’ ambitious fightback from 17 points down while claiming their fourth straight win and sixth overall in six matches, inching closer to pace-setting San Beda (7-0).

Dagangon tallied 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists while Coronel added 10 markers and Singontiko had five, all coming in the final canto, with the three taking turns in making big plays to send EAC reeling to its sixth loss in eight matches.

“Magandang sign sa amin ‘yun,” said Gican of his local wards’ sustained improvement. “At least unti-unti na nilang nakukuha ‘yung kumpiyansa. Sana mag-level up pa sila kasi ‘yun ang kailangan namin.

“Hindi pwedeng kay Bright lang kami nakaasa. Kailangan ‘yung locals mag-step up talaga,” he stressed. “Especially sa point guard (position), ‘yun ang kailangan namin nagyon.”

Indeed.

The Altas are keeping their fingers crossed on the condition of starting guard Keith Pido. He apparently injured his left shoulder off a collision with Generals counterpart Francis Munsayac with Perpetual in full control 62-52 with less than two minutes to play.

Pido’s late exit, however, hardly mattered for the Altas, with Akhuetie already inflicting heavy damage.

“Medyo nakakabalik na talaga siya sa limelight,” said Gican of the imposing Nigerian import. “Sana tuluy-tuloy na rin ‘yung pag-improve ng kanyang health condition.”

Remy Morada tallied a team-high 15 points while Cameroonian import Hamadou Laminou (14 points and 13 rebounds) and forward Sidney Onwubere (13 markers and 10 boards) came through with double-double performances but EAC’s other gunners, Munsayac and Igee King, struggled, making just one out of their combined 20 attempts.

The scores:

PERPETUAL HELP (70) – Akhuetie 19, Dagangon 15, Coronel 10, Hao 9, Singontiko 5, Pido 4, Gallardo 4, Sadiwa 2, Eze 2, Dizon 0, Cabiltes 0, Oliveria 0.

EAC (53) – Morada 15, Laminou 14, Onwubere 13, Corilla 3, Guzman 3, Mendoza 3, Munsayac 2, King 0, Diego 0, Serrano 0, Pascua 0, Neri 0, General 0, Aguas 0, Estacio 0.

Quarterscores: 16-10, 30-20, 48-32, 70-53.

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