JUNERIC Baloria scored 22 of his league-high 43 points in the fourth quarter as Perpetual Help stunned UAAP champion De La Salle, 98-95, on Saturday to finish its Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup campaign on a winning note.
Baloria led a comeback from 20 points down as the Altas outscored the Green Archers, 41-22, in the fourth quarter to capture their fourth win after six games in Group A.
The victory, however, was bittersweet as the Altas were eliminated from the quarterfinal contention as they failed to produce the needed winning margin to qualify for the next round.
Perpetual Help needed to win by at least five points to make it to the quarterfinals. Instead, it will be the Green Archers who will go to the playoffs as the seventh-seed.
Perpetual Help coach Aric Del Rosario and his wards were still satisfied with the win.
“Nakakaiyak ’yung panalo,” said Del Rosario, teary-eyed as he faced the media for the postgame interview. “Walang naniwala na mananalo kami sa La Salle.”
“Last game na namin sa Filoil, kailangan naming ibuhos, kailangan naming mag-sipag,” said Baloria, who shot 10 of 15 from the field including 5 of 7 from beyond-the-arc. “Alam namin na La Salle ’yan at ipapakita namin kung sino tayo.”
Perpetual Help won after trailing 24-44 in the second period. But a 10-0 run that was sparked by Baloria’s back-to-back triples started off the Altas’ run after being down by 80-68.
Baloria hit two free throws for an 87-86 lead to set up the see-saw battle before Gabriel Bagonon hit a huge triple, 95-90, with 59.8 seconds to play in the game.
The Altas looked set to advance after Harold Arboleda hit two free throws that made it 98-93, with 8.5 seconds. Arnold Van Opstal, however, hit two charities with 3.8 seconds off a foul by Baloria to give La Salle the quarterfinal seat.
Dagangon had 15 points, while Earl Thompson chipped in 14 points and 10 assists. Arboleda added 12 points for the Altas.
Jeron Teng and Van Opstal scored 20 points each for the Green Archers, whose only other loss in the eliminations came at the hands of another NCAA team in Jose Rizal University.
Perpetual Help (98) – Baloria 43, Daganon 15, Thompson 14, Arboleda 12, Oliveria 6, Alano 5, Ylagan 2, Dizon 1, Bantayan 0, Gallardo 0, Sadiwa 0, Cabiltes 0, Jolangcob 0, Elopre 0.
DLSU (95) – Teng 20, Van Opstal 20, Vosotros 16, Sargent 9, Montalbo 8, N. Torres 8, T. Torres 4, Perkins 3, Tratter 3, Rivero 2, Salem 2, Andrada 0, Bolick 0.
Quarterscores: 21-28; 41-50; 57-73; 98-95.