NICHOLAS Omorogbe dished off a fine, all-around play, while Juneric Baloria bucked an injury to lead University of Perpetual Help to a 73-68 victory over Mapua on Monday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Omorogbe, the Nigerian import, registered 25 points, 11 boards, and five assists, while Baloria, who hardly practiced the past week after sustaining a thigh injury, added 13 points, five assists, and three boards.
More importantly, the two cagers delivered down the stretch, scoring 16 of the Altas’ 21 points in the fourth quarter where they held off the Cardinals’ stand and won for the fifth time in six games, tying San Beda in second place behind unbeaten leader Letran.
“I just had to step up for Baloria. I figured his condition was not one-hundred percent, so I just decided to step up for him because he’s our main guy,” said Omorogbe, whose all-around brilliance negated his four turnovers.
“My turnover numbers are really terrible,” said the Nigerian, one of the league’s most turnover-prone players. “For me, as long as we’re winning, it’s okay. But, on the other hand, in terms of basketball, it’s bad.”
Darrel Magsigay led five players in double figures for the Cardinals, who dropped their fifth game in six starts, tying Emilio Aguinaldo College in ninth place.
After Joseph Eriobu knotted the count at 57 with a little over six minutes remaining, the Altas began to connect on their long-range shooting, getting a triple each from Omorogbe, Baloria, and Chris Elopre to decide the outcome of the match
“Maliliit tayo kaya kailangan maging aggressive kami sa outside shooting,” Altas coach Aric del Rosario said. “Nagbubunga `yung extra shooting namin sa ensayo.”
Del Rosario also drew significant contributions from skipper Harold Arboleda (11 rebounds and five points) and Justine Alano (13 boards and six points).
UPH (73) -- Omorogbe 25, Baloria 13, Dizon 9, Thompson 8, Elopre 7, Alano 6, Arboleda 5, Bantayan 0, Paulino 0, Lucente 0.
MIT (68) -- Magsigay 13, Braña 11, Ighalo 11, Saitanan 10, Eriobu 10, Estrella 9, Gabo 2, Gonzalez 2, Biteng 0, Isit 0, Sumampong 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17; 30-29; 52-48; 73-68.