NO doubt, University of Perpetual Help is for real.
The Altas added to their collection of statement games this season after scoring an amazing come-from-behind 72-71 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College on Saturday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Jet Vidal took centerstage for the Altas this time, capping the squad’s stunning comeback from 14 points down in the fourth quarter with a triple with 5.1 seconds left that brought the crowd at The Arena in San Juan into a frenzy.
Given up for dead after falling behind at 48-62 with seven minutes and 10 seconds left in the payoff period, the Altas banked on a huge run powered by Vidal and Earl Thompson to pull off the unlikeliest of their sixth win in eight games.
“Yung ganung score akalain mo bang mananalo ka pa,” a teary-eyed Altas coach Aric del Rosario said in the post-game interview. “Yung mga player ko hindi pa rin sumusuko hanggat may oras.”
The Altas have already eclipsed their win total in all of last season when they had five wins and 13 losses.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Generals, who were coming off a similar defeat against Letran, 65-62, in overtime in Laguna.
The Generals, who dropped their sixth game in seven outings, were ahead most of the game as they took advantage of Vidal’s cold shooting in the first two quarters.
“Hindi ko makuha rhythm ko nung first half kasi nakadikit talaga yung mga bantay sa akin,” the 23-year-old Vidal said. “Kaya nung second half puro drive muna ako para malito yung kalaban.”
EAC’s Jorem Morada spearheaded the Generals’ attack with a game-high 23 points, including five threes, but the rookie playmaker missed two free throws in the squad’s last offensive possession that set the stage for Vidal’s late heroics.
Vidal more than atoned for his scoreless first half after unloading 17 points in the final two quarters, including the go-ahead trey off a pass from Harold Arboleda.
“Puso lang,” Vidal said.
Arboleda contributed 11 points and six boards, while Thompson failed to score in double digits for only the second game this season, finishing with nine markers. The sophomore swingman, though, was crucial in the Altas’ late rally.
PERPETUAL 72 – Vidal 17, Arboleda 11, Omorogbe 11, Thompson 9, Alano 8, Allen 6, Babayemi 6, Elopre 4, Paulino 0, Jolangcob 0, Bitoy 0
EAC 71 – Morada 23, Happi Noube 13, Jamon 12, Tayongtong 12, Yaya 7, Chiong 4, Paguia 0, King 0, Monteclaro 0, Sanchez 0
Quarterscores: 13-15, 35-33, 52-43, 72-71