PERPETUAL Help leaned on Gab Dangangon in the fourth period to eke out a rousing 87-83 win over San Beda in NCAA Season 92 basketball tournament Final Four on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Dagangon erupted with 27 for the Altas, who raced off to a scintillating 21-9 start, sputtered late, but recovered just in time to come away with the victory.
The pride of Makilala, North Cotabato dropped 11 in the payoff period, including the undergoal stab that put Perpetual on top for good, 85-83, with 19.7 to go.
But Dagangon got plenty of help from his teammates to force the rubber match at the same venue on Tuesday. Bright Akhuetie had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Daryl Singontiko was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc on his way to 15 markers.
"Medyo struggle but I'm so happy naging succesful kami today," said Perpetual coach Jimwell Gican.
"Pero it's just Game 1 pa lang. We need to prepare hard pa for Game 2. Sana makuha namin," he added.
After Davon Potts tied the match at 83-all with 1:04 remaining, Dagangon hit an undergoal stab off a broken play, 85-83.
San Beda had the chance to win or tie the game but AC Soberano missed a three-pointer before Keith Pido sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
Robert Bolick led San Beda with 21 points to help the Red Lions claw back from a 21-9 deficit in the opening quarter, but he went gunshy in the second half.
Soberano and Arnaud Noah added 16 and 14 markers, respectively.
UPHSD (87) - Dagangon 27, Akhuetie 15, Singontiko 15, Hao 8, Ilagan 8, Coronel 6, Pido 6, Sadiwa 2, Eze 0, Gallardo 0, Mangalino 0.
SBC (83) - Bolick 21, Soberano 16, Noah 14, Potts 12, Mocon 8, Adamos 6, Optana 2, Prebitero 2, Sara 2, Alas 0, Bonsubre 0, Carlos 0, Navarro 0, Tongco 0.
Quarterscores: 21-9, 41-36, 60-62, 87-83.