MANILA, Philippines – Road teams are now 2-of-2 in the NCAA on Tour after the University of Perpetual Help Altas barged into the Mapua University Gym in Intramuros and escaped with a tremendous 63-60 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday.
The win was only Perpetual Help’s first of the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament, snapping a two-game slide.
“It’s a good win for us,” said Pereptual Help coach Jimwell Gican. “Gusto ko ibigay credit ng panalo namin sa captain ball namin na si GJ Ylagan. Because of his leadership, despite na nararamdaman niya na hindi maganda sa katawan niya, pinakita pa rin niya na leader siya sa team.”
Ylagan led the Altas with 13 points, including a key lay-up with 3:55 left that stirred Perpetual Help back to life after it appeared that Mapua was ready to complete their comeback.
Prince Eze had 11 points and 21 rebounds to make up for his seven turnovers, while Keith Pido had nine points, three rebounds, three assists, and a crucial steal in the closing seconds that helped Perpetual Help come out with the win.
The Altas, buoyed by a noisy contingent that threatened to overwhelm the home fans, were in control for most of the way, even going up by 10 points several times in the third quarter.
Ylagan was a major factor in their third-quarter performance, as he scored six points in the frame, including the lay-up that pushed them ahead, 40-30, for their first double-digit lead of the contest.
But the Cardinals, led by their second unit, roared back to life in the final canto. An unsportsmanlike foul by Perpetual’s Jonathan Yuhico on diminutive guard JP Nieles sparked a stunning 14-2 Mapua run that turned an eight-point deficit into a three-point lead, 54-51, with 4:20 to play.
It was a lay-up by Ylagan, which came off a daring drive to the hoop, that brought Perpetual back to life. A bucket by Eze gave the Altas back the lead, 55-54, and it was back-and-forth from there.
The Altas took the lead for good off a lay-up by AJ Coronel with 2:10 left that made it 57-56, and he added a booming triple from the wing off a perfect pass by Pido for a 60-56 advantage with just 1:22 to go.
However, Mapua refuse to go down easily, with Andoy Estrella willing his team back into the game. His lay-up with just 44 seconds left made it a two-point game, 60-62, and the Cardinals had another chance after they got a stop in Perpetual’s next possession. Unfortunately for Mapua, Estrella could not hold on to the ball, with Pido swiping him from behind.
Forced to foul, the Cardinals sent Eze to the line, and the foreign student-athlete kept the window open for Mapua by making only one of two free throws. The comeback win was not meant to be, however, as Estrella agonizingly missed a three-pointer that was halfway down before spinning out, and Almel Orquina’s heave at the buzzer was off the mark as well.
“Good thing nakabalik kami sa kapal ng crowd nila,” said Gican. “Nakabalik kami sa game.”
“Lagi naming sinasabi sa players na just keep working hard, tiwala lang na kaya manalo,” he added. ‘This is it. Eto na ‘yun.”
Mapua, coming off a win over Colegio de San Juan de Letran that saw Estrella nail the game-winning triple, dropped to 1-2 in the tournament.
Leo Gabo led the Cardinals with 12 points, while Estrella had 11 points and Orquina added 10. However, Mapua shot only 32.35% on their home court, and were out-rebounded 37-54 by the bigger Altas.
PERPETUAL 63 – Ylagan 13, Eze 11, Singontiko 10, Coronel 10, Pido 9, Lucente 8, Dagangon 2, Yuhico 0, Tamayo 0
MAPUA 60 – Gabo 12, Estrella 11, Orquina 10, Victoria 9, Bunag 5, Aguirre 5, Raflores 4, Nieles 4
Quarter scores: 19-16, 32-27, 49-40, 63-60
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