SAN JUAN City – Bright Akhuetie scored at the buzzer to lift the University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta Altas over erstwhile co-leader San Beda College, 88-86, in a thriller of a game from the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Thursday (September 10) at the San Juan Arena. The Nigerian exchange student received a perfect assist from teammate Nestor Bantayan to cap the wild and wooly encounter between two title favorites.
So intense and emotional was the game that Altas coach Aric del Rosario suddenly turned teary and could hardly speak at the postgame media conference. True enough, it was a well-deserved result for Perpetual Help who upped their win-loss record to 9-4, good for a tie with idle Arellano University for Third and Fourth Place.
Do it all Earl Scottie Thompson issued a pass to the waiting Bantayan for the go-ahead points, 85-84, and 32 seconds remaining. The Red Lions had a chance but Amer had trouble inbounding the ball and threw it no one, eventually going out of bounds.
Suddenly, the San Beda gallery erupted in cheer only to quickly switch to collective groans as Art de la Cruz intercepted the basketball and sprinted down only to miss the unmolested layup! They had no choice but to immediately foul Thompson who split his free throws and increase the Altas’ advantage to two points, 86-84, and 25 ticks on the clock.
De la Cruz almost made up for his earlier blunder as he then tied the game for that last time with a basket, 86-86. Akhuetie’s game winner came next.
Entering the game with a three-game win streak, the Red Lions hoped to stretch it to for and started strong with Ola Adeogun dropping eight markers in the first period and San Beda leading, 17-14. Akhuetie and seldom-used Flash Sadiwa then helped lead the Altas’ comeback in the second and third periods.
Bright shone all game long with 31 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. Thompson flirted with a triple double again with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while GJ Ylagan fired four triples en route to matching Thompson’s points output.
Adeogun led the Red Lions with 26 points and eight rebounds. De la Cruz finished with 15 points on top of eight rebounds and six assists as they dropped to 10-3 but stayed in solo Second Place.
In the Juniors Division, the defending champion Red Cubs stretched their undefeated streak to 13 games by flattening the winless Junior Altas, 109-53. Addie Velasquez towed four other teammates in twin digits with 14 while seven others had five points or more in the Red Cubs’ balanced scoring attack.
Meanwhile, Letran assumed the solo leadership with their 11th win in 13 games by trouncing the College of Saint Benilde, 79-69. It was the other way around in the Juniors as La Salle Green Hills toyed with the Squires, 69-48.
How They Scored:
SAN BEDA-RIZAL (109) – Velasquez 14, Nelle 11, Mahinay 11, Etrata 10, Lagumen 10, Sese 8, de la Rosa 6, Bordeos 6, Alfaro 6, Abuhijle 6, Barbero 5, Bonalos 5, Tagala 4, Nayve 4, Samaniego 3.
PERPETUAL HELP (53) – Umali 22, Rocero 14, Bautista 6, Gelogo 5, Coloma 2, Nimez 2, Sape 0, Espeleta 0, Romares 0, Guinto 0.
Period Scores: 22-9, 51-24, 72-37, 109-53.
PERPETUAL HELP (88) – Akhuetie 31, Thompson 14, Ylagan 14, Sadiwa 10, Oliveria 6, Eze 5, Bantayan 4, Dizon 2, Cabiltes 2, Tamayo 0, Coronel 0, Gallardo 0, Dagangon 0, Elopre 0.
SAN BEDA (86) – Adeogun 26, de la Cruz 15, Mocon 12, Koga 11, Amer 10, Tankoua 8, Reyes 4, Cabanag 0, Soberano 0, Sara 0, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0, Sorela 0.
Period Scores: 14-17, 39-35, 61-60, 88-86.