UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help tries to take Arellano out of its comfort zone as the Altas and Chiefs collide anew in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Monday at The Arena in San Juan.
Facing arguably the league’s most exciting team that thrives on a fast-paced, high-octane offense anchored on Jiovani Jalalon and Nard Pinto, the Altas seek to slow the game down in the hopes of closing the gap with their opponents in the 10-team standings.
“Subukan naming i-contra-tiyempo,” Altas coach Aric del Rosario said. “Kung mabilis sila, babagalan namin.”
Tipoff is at 2 p.m. with the Altas, running third and knotted with Jose Rizal University with a 7-4 win-loss card, hoping to strengthen their position, and the Chiefs (9-2) aiming to gain a share of the lead with San Beda.
Arellano turned back Perpetual, 97-85, on July 26, but the Chiefs are facing a reloaded Altas side that has lately been getting significant firepower outside their top guns Earl Thompson, Harold Arboleda, Juneric Baloria, and Justine Alano.
Point guard Joel Jolangcob, who joins the Altas’ fearsome foursome in the starting lineup, and rookie forward Gab Dagangon have taken turns providing timely sparks that have proven beneficial to the Las Piñas-based dribblers’ cause.
The Altas role players’ contribution will once again come handy against the Chiefs, who are on a quest for a breakthrough Final Four appearance in the country’s oldest collegiate since joining the league in 2009.
The Chiefs, who have already surpassed their win total last season, will also bank on American slotman Dioncee Holts and gunner Levi Hernandez, apart from Jalalon and Pinto.
JRU tries to keep in step with Perpetual as it takes on a Lyceum side that’s hoping to get back on the winning track in the second game at 4 o’clock.
The Pirates ended the first round sporting a record above .500, but have since gone below to a 5-6 mark after losing their last two games.