EMILIO Aguinaldo College banked on a barrage of late triples to stun University of Perpetual Help, 73-71, in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan Saturday.
The Altas’ zone defense left Cameroonian import Cedric Happi Noube ineffective, but the Generals’ platoon of guards countered it by banging in three-pointers one after the other to rally the team from as much as a 17-point deficit in the third period.
Jan Jamon, John Tayongtong, and Franz Chiong all hit from beyond the arc in the final frame to help the Generals improved to 5-8 overall, and remain alive in the Final Four race as they forged a three-way tie for sixth together with Arellano and Mapua.
“Against a zone defense, you really have to connect outside. Luckily, pumapasok mga tira namin,” said Generals coach Gerry Esplana, whose team buried six triples in the fourth quarter and 15 for the entire game.
Jamon had six threes to pace the Generals with 20 points, while Tayongtong fired all but one of his 10 markers in the payoff period, all from three-point territory.
EAC power forward Jolas Paguia also played a crucial role in the run by hitting his mid-range jumpers. He finished with 11 points and seven boards.
The game was another down-the wire finish similar to the two teams’ match-up in the first round, which the Altas won, 72-71.
But this time, the Generals had the last laugh.
Until the Generals’ outside shooters came alive in the final period, the Altas’ zone-defense worked for three quarters as they limited the 6-foot-7 Happi to just six points on 3-of-7 shooting throughout the game.
The Cameroonian however, had 15 rebounds and four assists.
Earl Thompson, who scattered 17 points, seven boards, five assists, and four steals in an impressive all-around game, gave the Altas their biggest lead at 54-37 after completing a three-point play with four minutes and 21 seconds to go in the third quarter
“Natuwa ako sa team ko dahil they refused to give up,” Esplana said.
The Altas dropped to 8-5, but kept their firm hold of fourth spot.
Jet Vidal, who missed a desperation triple as time expired, finished with 15 points but behind a 6-of-20 shooting -- a far cry from his career-high 32-point performance against Jose Rizal University last Monday.
EAC (73) -- Jamon 20, Paguia 11, Tayongtong 10, Happi 6, Monteclaro 6, King 5, Chiong 5, Morada 5, Yaya 3, Sanchez 2, Munsayac 0.
Perpetual Help (71) -- Thompson 17, Vidal 15, Allen 13, Omorogbe 10, Alano 8, Arboleda 3, Paulino 4, Jolangcob 2, Elopre 0, Babayemi 0.
Quarterscores: 14-15, 33-41, 50-56, 73-71