Altas coach not surprised to see Gab Dagangon deliver with season on the line
Gab Dagangon scattered 11 of his game-high 27 points in the final period to lift Perpetual in a wild finish over San Beda. Freddie Dionisio

WITH the game and the season on the line for Perpetual, the Altas found an unlikely hero in Gab Dagangon.

But his coach Jimwell Gican was the least surprised to see the forward deliver in the clutch as Perpetual to held off top seed San Beda to stave off elimination in NCAA Season 92.

In a tied ballgame at 83-all with 1:04 to go, Dagangon tried to pass the ball to Bright Akhuetie but got the ball back off a deflection from Ben Adamos.

The Makilala, North Cotabato native then hit undergoal stab with 19.7 ticks left before Keith Pido put the finishing touches to the 87-83 win over the Red Lions on Friday to force a rubber match on Tuesday. 

"Syempre kailangan i-shoot talaga kasi baka mabaliktad pa, matalo pa kami. Kaya di ko na sinayang," said Dagangon, referring to his last shot. 

[See Dagangon delivers go-ahead basket as Altas stave off elimination]

The shot proved to be the brightest highlight of Dagangon's stellar performance that saw him scatter a game-high 27 points to go with five rebounds, two assists, and two steals to lead the Altas, who almost blew a 21-9 lead in the opening period.

"Masaya ako sa kanya. Yun sabi ko sa kanya e, magtiwala lang sa sarili nya at sa sistema at game plan," Gican said.

"Kahit may import kami, we need to work as a team. Kailangan magtiwala kami na kaya namin. So happy ako na maganda nilaro nya. Yung puso at utak andun, dala niya," he added.

Despite nabbing their first win in the Final Four since 2004, the Altas vowed not to let this victory get to their heads as they brace for a bounce back game from the Red Lions.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros