MANILA, Philippines – University of Perpetual Help System Dalta is gunning for solo lead against a tenacious Mapua Institute of Technology on Tuesday, July 7 in the ongoing NCAA Season 91 men’s senior basketball tournament.
The Las Piñas-based dribblers are riding high on an impressive two-game winning streak, instantly becoming early favorites to enter the final four for the fourth-straight year.
Perpetual bucked a slow start to claim their first victory this season at the expense of a challenging Lyceum Pirates, 70-61, last June 30.
Nigerian reinforcement Prince Eze led the Aric Del Rosario-mentored Altas with 21 points, which include the 11 markers that he scored in the second period as he spearheaded Perpetual’s comeback from a 16-9 first quarter deficit to lead by 29-24 at halftime.
In their second outing, UPHSD’s second foreign student stepped up big time for the Altas as Bright Akhuetie threw his weight around against College of Saint Benilde, notching a season-high 44 points and 19 rebounds in a 77-69 win over the Green Blazers.
“He was sent from heaven,” Del Rosario quipped about Akhuetie’s monstrous performance during the post-game interview.
Akhuetie downplayed his individual effort, crediting his teammates for helping him register remarkable numbers of on his stat-sheet.
“My teammates are doing it for me. They are making me look good,” he said.
With two triumphs in a row, Perpetual is currently tied with San Beda College and Colegio de San Juan de Letran on top of the team standings.
The team standing in the way of the maroon-and-gold troop in breaking the tie is the Mapua Cardinals, who are coming off a thrilling encounter versus San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 88-86, on July 2 to put them on the winning track after bowing down to the San Beda Red Lions on opening day.
“It feels really good because everybody knows the first win is always the hardest to get,” Nimes admitted.
Mapua overcame a 79-86 fourth-quarter deficit against the Golden Stags behind a closing 9-0 run powered by Josan Nimes, Allwell Oraeme and CJ Isit.
Isit served as the hero for the red-and-yellow brigade when he drilled two free throws with 21.6 seconds to play in the fourth period, giving Mapua the hard-earned lead on the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, Oraeme contributed 15 points, 22 rebounds and five blocks for Mapua and played a pivotal role in the Cardinals’ down-the-stretch hurrah with San Sebastian.
“It will be a tough match-up for Bright because Mapua has a good import in Allwell Oraeme,” Del Rosario replied when he was asked about the much-awaited meeting between two Nigerians cagers. – Rappler.com