BRIGHT Akhuetie hit the game-winner off an assist by Nestor Bantayan with a split second left, lifting Perpetual Help to an 88-86 win over titleholder San Beda on Thursday in the NCAA Season 91 men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Perpetual Help regained a share of third place with idle Arellano with its ninth win in 13 matches.
The Altas victory also kept the Red Lions from keeping pace with Letran, which earlier took the top spot with an 11-2 win-loss card with victory over College of St. Benilde.
"'Yan ang hinahanap ko sa kanila, hanggang huli lumalaban," said Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario.
"Kasi kung matatalo kami bababa na kami, magiging 8-5 na kami, dinaan na lang namin sa dasal so salamat sa Diyos," added the veteran mentor.
After missing one game due to a left shoulder injury, Akhuetie returned to register a double-double performance of 31 points and 11 rebounds to go with four assists, two steals and two blocks.
Scottie Thompson had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, John Ylagan scored 14 and Flash Sadiwa contributed 10.
After a Baser Amer three-pointer with 45.1 seconds remaining for a 84-83 San Beda lead, the Red Lions guard committed a turnover on an inbound pass with 32.4 left to play and Art de la Cruz missed a layup at the final 27.2-second mark.
Thompson split his charities to make it 86-84, and De la Cruz made up for his blunder by tying the game with 15.4 seconds left.
Earlier, Perpetual Help gained momentum after Akhuetie scored on a one hand slam on San Beda big man Ola Adeogun, 75-74, before the Altas pushed the lead to five, 79-74.
San Beda was quick to retaliate with its own 6-0 run to snatch the lead, 81-79, with 2:20 to play.
Adeogun finished with 26 points, Jayvee Mocon added 12, Ryusei Koga had 11 and Amer contributed 10.
Perpetual Help 88 - Akhuetie 31, Thompson 14, Ylagan 14, Sadiwa 10, Oliveria 6, Eze 5, Bantayan 4, Dizon 2, Cabiltes 2, Tamayo 0, Coronel 0, Gallardo 0, Dagangon 0, Elopre 0.
San Beda 86 - Adeogun 26, Dela Cruz 15, Mocon 12, Koga 11, Amer 10, Tankoua 8, Reyes 4, Cabanag 0, Soberano 0, Sara 0, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0, Sorela 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17; 39-35; 61-60; 88-86.