UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help continued its rise to relevance, stunning defending champion San Beda College, 88-87, in a thrilling overtime match on Thursday night in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Jet Vidal and Earl Thompson took over in the overtime period to save the day for the Altas after the Lions came back from six-points down in the 6.3 seconds of regulation in a comeback highlighted by Baser Amer's unbelievable game-tying three-pointer from the backcourt at the buzzer.
The win ended the Altas' seven-year losing streak to the Lions and gave them their second big scalp of the campaign after they beat Letran last June 30.
“Nakahuli kami ng malaking isda,” a relieved Altas coach Aric del Rosario said. “Yan tuloy, ang dami naming ulam mamaya.”
Vidal, who pumped in a game-high 29 points, scored the go-ahead basket with 6.5 seconds left before Thompson hit two charities to seal the Altas' third win in four games right on his 19th birthday.
Thompson, an athletic swingman from Digos City, finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the Altas, who moved to solo second place behind Jose Rizal University.
“Magandang regalo ‘to para sa akin,” Thompson said.
San Beda’s Ryussei Koga buried a triple in the ensuing possession, but it came too late as the Lions dropped their first game after winning their first two games of the season.
Kyle Pascual led the Lions with 25 points, eight boards and four blocks while Amer added 19 points.
Employing a 2-3 zone on defense and riding the red-hot Vidal on offense (18 points in the third), the Altas led the Lions throughout the game.
But a fourth-quarter uprising allowed the Lions to claw back. Trailing 56-44 at the end of the third, the Lions outscored the Altas, 28-16, in the fourth to knot the count at the end of regulation.
The Lions seemed to have put the game to bed in overtime after Yvan Ludovice’s jumper made it 84-80 with 35.8 seconds left, but the Altas regrouped and remembered their veteran mentor’s words.
“Hangga’t may oras, may chance tayo,” Del Rosario said.
In a matter of 20 seconds, the Altas pounced on San Beda’s errors and translated them to eight unanswered points, capped by Thompson’s two charities.
“Patigasan lang ng puso 'yan,” Vidal said. “Kung sino ang mas matibay, yun ang mananalo.”
PERPETUAL 88 – Vidal 29, Thompson 23, Paulino 10, Jolangcob 9, Babayemi 6, Arboleda 6, Elopre 3, Omorogbe 2, Allen 0, Alano 0
SAN BEDA 87 – Pascual 25, Amer 19, Dela Cruz 12, Caram 11, Koga 9, Ludovice 4, Pascual 4, Dela Rosa 3, Villaruz 0, Bonsubre 0, Abarcar 0, Moralde 0, Lim 0
Quarter scores: 12-15, 34-27, 56-44, 72-72, 88-87