ITS Big Three may carry most of the load, but it doesn’t mean University of Perpetual Help fails to spread the wealth in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
That’s what the Altas, bannered by Earl Thompson, Harold Arboleda, and Juneric Baloria, continue to prove as they square off against Jose Rizal University on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Thompson, Arboleda, and Baloria are currently lording the MVP (statistical points) rankings, with the do it-all Thompson on top with 75.7 SPs anchored on 22.7 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and just 1.7 turnovers per contest.
The undersized, but hard-working 6-foot-2 Arboleda occupies second spot (51.7 SPs) thanks to norms of 13.3 points, eight boards, 4.7 assists, one steal, while the high-scoring Baloria is not far behind at third (49.7) with averages of 20.7 points, 5.3 caroms, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals.
The offensive production of Thompson and Baloria, alone, compose more than half of the Altas’ league-leading 82 points per game.
But that doesn’t mean they’re unselfish as the Altas also lead the league in assists with 20 per outing, ahead of defending champion San Beda (17.6).
“Kung bakante ako tapos may mas bakante pa sa akin, bibigyan ko,” Baloria said. “Tiwala lang sa isa’t isa. Maliliit kami kaya kailangan namin magtulungan. Binibigyan namin lahat ng kumpiyansa.”
“Walang swapangan,” Altas coach Aric del Rosario said. Sabi nga ni (Del Rosario’s assistant and son) Leter, dito sa Perpetual, walang superstar, pare-pareho lang tayo. Kung sinong gamitin, magpakita, yung ayaw magpakita, dyan ka sa bangko.”
“Kaya lahat sila pag ginamit mo, naka-focus sa game,” the veteran mentor added, making it hardly surprising why the Altas are one of only two undefeated squads left in the Season 90 along with the Red Lions.
The Las Piñas-based dribblers now stake their 3-0 win-loss card against a full-court pressing Heavy Bombers side led by its own streak shooter in Philip Paniamogan and hard-working big men in Michael Mabulac and Razak Abdul Wahab.
Tipoff is at 2 p.m.
The Bombers are in the middle of the pack at 2-3, but will take advantage of any rust the Altas might have after their opponents are coming off a layoff of more than one week following a postponement of a previous game last week due to Typhoon Glenda.
Final Four contenders Arellano and San Sebastian, who are tied in third spot with similar 3-1 records, face off in the second game at 4 o’clock.