Perpetual Help got back at erstwhile streaking Arellano U on Thursday afternoon, essaying a masterful 76-62 victory to forge a two-way tie at second spot in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Altas got off to a rousing start, jumping to a quick 18-5 lead, before making life miserable for the Chiefs behind a sustained defensive pressure to get a fitting payback after their 78-83 setback in their initial meeting last June 26.
More importantly, Perpetual Help notched its second straight victory and 10th overall in 13 starts, tying Arellano U at second spot in the process.
“Talagang nagsunog kami ng kilay para kahit paano manalo,” said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican, visibly impressed with how his wards held down their high-scoring rivals to their lowest output this season.
“Maganda ang naging outcome. ‘Yung preparation namin, sobrang haba. ‘Yung mga players, gusto ko ibigay yung credit sa kanila kasi naniwala sila sa game plan. May konting lapses pero nandoon pa rin yung gameplan namin. At least 90 percent,” he added.
Prized Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie, who sat out in their previous meeting, proved to a big factor as he tallied 15 points, 12 rebounds while local wingman Gab Dagangon had a game-high-tying 22 markers for the Altas.
Also coming up big for Perpetual Help was playmaker Keith Pido, who dished out an all-around performance of 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds while slowing down Arellano U’s top guard Jiovani Jalalon.
The 5-foot-10 Jalalon had 19 points but struggled from the field, making just seven of his 22 attempts from the field while scoring just three in the final canto, no thanks to the Altas’ stymieing defense led by Pido. – Jerome Lagunzad
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Perpetual Help (76) – Dagangon 22, Akhuetie 15, Singontiko 13, Pido 10, Coronel 9, Eze 3, Dizon 2, Gallardo 2, Sadiwa 0, Hao 0, Ylagan 0
Arellano U (62) – Salado 22, Jalalon 19, Flores 6, Cadavis 6, Holts 4, Meca 2, Villoria 2, Canete 1, Nicholls 0, Enriquez 0, Gumaru 0, Rivera 0
Quarterscores: 18-7, 35-27, 54-48, 76-62.