PERPETUAL Help leans on its two Nigerian imports and third-year forward Gab Danganon as the Altas try to improve on their sixth place finish last season.
The Altas take on the Arellano U Chiefs on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan, the second playdate of the 92nd NCAA basketball tournament.
Focus will be on Altas’ reinforcements Bright Akhuetie and Prince Eze, while Perpetual Help also hopes Dagangon would be able to deliver the numbers and fill the void left by Earl Scottie Thompson, now with Ginebra in the PBA.
The other holdovers are Nikoli Cabiltes, Gerald Dizon, Antonio Coronel, Ric Gallardo, Kevin Oliveria, Flash Sadiwa, Keith Pido and John Ylagan, while expected to make an immediate impact are rookies Daryl Singontiko and Jonathan Andrew Yuhico.
The league opens on Saturday with defending champion Letran tangling with last year's runner-up San Beda at 2 p.m. while Jose Rizal and Mapua clash at 4 p.m.
The opening ceremonies is set at 12:30 p.m. with the league retiring the late great Carlos "Caloy"Loyzaga's No. 14 jersey number he used during his days with the San Beda Lions, whom he led to championships in the 1950s.
Antonio Tamayo is expected to take over and call the shots for Perpetual Help after Nigeria’s Nosa Omorogbe handled Perpetual Help in the Flying V Premier Cup preseason tournament, steering the Altas to the quarterfinals.
"I have to give it to him (Omorogbe), he handled the team well while I'm away," said Tamayo.
"We're confident of our chances this coming NCAA season," said Tamayo, the Perpetual Help school owner who played for the University of Santo Tomas high school team and former teammate of coach Aric del Rosario.
Tamayo's other assistants are Jimwell Gican and Jonas Kintanar.