UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help and San Sebastian try to sustain the momentum when they face separate opponents on Saturday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The second-running Altas (5-2) are experiencing a sudden resurgence this season under new coach Aric del Rosario as they’ve already matched their win total last season after a 94-88 overtime victory over Mapua Thursday.
And with two games remaining in the first round, the Altas try to turn more doubters into believers as they face the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals at 4 p.m.
“Hopefully makuha namin last two games namin para good start,” said the veteran Del Rosario, whose old magic has definitely rubbed off on the Altas, especially sophomore swingman Earl Thompson.
The athletic, 19-year-old guard from Digos City is having a breakout year for the Altas. He again flaunted his all-around brilliance with 22 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and four steals against the Cardinals.
The Stags (4-1), riding the crest of a four-game winning streak, tackle Arellano University Chiefs at 6 o’clock, hoping to gain a share of the lead with idle Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers.
The Stags’ Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual, and Ian Sangalang have been clicking on all cylinders as of late, with the Recto-based squad’s 87-79 triumph over Lyceum last Monday the latest proof.
Against the Pirates, the Stags’ Big Three stuffed the stat sheet anew as Abueva recorded his second triple-double of the season with 16 points, 23 rebounds, and 10 assists on top of four blocks, Pascual poured in 32 points, including eight treys, and Sangalang contributed 20 points and 16 boards.
The Altas are expected to focus their defense on the Generals’ Cameroonian import Cedric Happi Noube, who had 17 points and 14 caroms in the school’s 65-62 loss to Letran in Laguna last Wednesday.
In juniors’ division, the Perpetual Junior Altas take on the EAC Brigadiers at 12 p.m. while the SSC Staglets face the Arellano Braves at 2 p.m.