UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help once again frustrated Letran, 67-64, to solidify its Final Four bid in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
After making a successful comeback against the Knights in the first round, the Altas held the lead and had to survive a late charge by the Knights this time before prevailing anew.
“Parang replay lang nung first round,” a relieved Altas coach Aric del Rosario said, referring to their 85-82 victory last August 9. “Nabaliktad lang yung scenario.”
Earl Thompson put up another all-around game, scattering 16 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and one assist, although the leading MVP candidate committed eight errors for the Altas, who firmed up their hold of third spot with a seventh win in 11 games.
The Altas also snapped the Knights’ two-game winning streak, leaving their victims stuck in seventh place with a 4-7 win-loss card.
Thompson overshadowed PBA-bound teammates in Juneric Baloria and Harold Arboleda, although both standouts still delivered.
Baloria, selected in the third round of the draft by Blackwater, scattered 20 points, spiked by three triples, five assists, and two boards, while Arboleda, Talk ‘N Text’s lone pick in the draft, chipped in 10 points, six assists, five caroms, and one block.
The Knights, though, went down with a fight, overhauling a 48-59 third-quarter deficit with a rally in the payoff period.
The Knights pulled to within two points, 64-66, after Ford Ruaya split his charities with 17.7 seconds left, but Arboleda sank a free throw of his own on the other end, then Rey Nambatac missed a potential overtime-sending triple from the right wing at the buzzer.
UPHSD 67 – Baloria 18, Thompson 16, Arboleda 10, Jolangcob 10, Alano 8, Dagangon 5, Tamayo 0, Gallardo 0, Sadiwa 0, Lucente 0
CSJL 64 – Racal 18, Cruz 16, Tambeling 8, Nambatac 8, Gabawan 5, Luib 3, Quinto 3, Publico 2, Ruaya 1, Apreku 0, Singontiko 0
Quarterscores: 16-21, 38-37, 59-51, 67-64