GO AND GO. Perpetual got a much-needed win while also making the race for the third and fourth playoff berths all the more interesting.
If they play up to their potential, University of Perpetual Help can deal with and ultimately defeat anybody in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Altas did just that on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre as Prince Eze and Gab Dagangon lifted them over feisty Colegio de San Juan de Letran in overtime, 88-82.
Eze continued his case for MVP with 21 points and 19 rebounds in this one, feasting on their opponents’ short frontline. “Credit to him because he’s working hard. Kinausap ko siya especially na nasa MVP race siya and I keep telling him to don’t stop learning,” coach Jimwell Gican said.
However, it was Dagangon’s back-to-back hits up against the defense of Rey Nambatac that powered Perpetual from a tied tally of 77-all to a lead of 82-77. “Puso ang nagdala sa amin, puso na lang,” the coach said.
Of course, the Knights kept coming and pulled to within 82-85 with 25.8 ticks to go before a AJ Coronel and Eze turned them away for good with three of four free throws.
In the end, Dagangon had 21 points while Coronel contributed 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals to help the Altas return to their winning form now at 4-6.
From now until the foreseeable future, Gican will be calling the shots instead of Nic Omorogbe who is on “indefinite leave.” “Simple lang naman ang gagawin namin, wala nang pressure. We play na wala nang pressure,” the former said.
That would be a much welcome change for the struggling squad which, prior to this much-needed win, had lost four of their last five games.
And now, they are right back in the thick of things. “Kino-congratulate ko sila lahat sa effort na ginawa nila na nagtapos sa pangalong kailangang kailangan namin,” Gican said.
Perpetual was actually on its way to the win, leading by three, 75-72, with 14.2 seconds remaining in regulation before Bong Quinto’s stepback triple forced an extra period.
Quinto fouled out at the 1:43 mark of overtime, however, to see Letran fall apart and fall to 5-5.
Even though they have now lost back-to-back, the Knights remain in solo fourth, but have four teams breathing down their necks.
PERPETUAL 88 – Eze 21, Dagangon 21, Ylagan 18, Coronel 10, Pido 9, Cabiltes 4, Hao 3, Yuhico 2, Mangalino 0, Sadiwa 0, Clemente 0, Lucente 0, Tamayo 0
LETRAN 82 – Calvo 21, Quinto 15, Nambatac 15, Vacaro 9, Balanza 8, Taladua 7, Bernabe 3, Mandreza 2, Gedaria 2, Pamulaklakin 0, Balagasay 0, De Villa 0, Caralipio 0, Pascual 0
QUARTER SCORES: 18-12, 32-33, 57-52, 75-75, 88-82 (OT)