Undersized teams Perpetual Help Altas, Letran Knights seek huge wins
Earl Thompson and the Altas clash with pint-sized playmaker Marc Cruz and the Knights. Jerome Ascano

TWO undersized teams seek a huge bounce-back victory on Saturday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Perpetual Help and Letran, two of the smallest teams in the league, collide at 2:30 p.m. hoping to recover from heartbreaking setbacks.

The Altas, running fourth with a 4-3 win-loss card, are coming off a narrow 75-77 defeat at the hands of mighty San Beda on Wednesday.

But despite facing a taller Red Lions side, led by 6-foot-8 Ola Adeogun, the Las Piñas-based dribblers gave the defending champions a scare as they rallied from a huge 17-point deficit and cameto within two points before folding.

Juneric Baloria almost singlehandedly carried the Altas as the wily guard scored 16 of his 21 points second half to keep them within striking distance.

But the Altas will field an even smaller lineup against the Knights as they will miss the services of 6-foot-5 rookie big man Ric Gallardo, who will serve a one-game suspension for getting ejected with an unsportsmanlike foul against the Lions.

That’s why they are not underestimating a fellow wingmen-oriented squad in the Knights, who lost to contender Arellano by a mere point, 62-63, last Monday.

“Pinaghahandaan namin lahat ng team lalo na wala kaming big man,” said Baloria, who forms part of the Altas’ fearsome foursome alongside Earl Thompson, Harold Arboleda, and Justine Alano.

Pint-sized playmaker Mark Cruz and do-it-all forward Kevin Racal banner the Knights, who are in eighth spot with only two wins two show in seven games. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos