Altas complete epic comeback over Green Archers
Manila, Philippines – Just when everything seemed to be in place, the University of Perpetual Help Altas changed everything.
Led by the 43 points of Juneric Baloria and a combined 9-of-23 three-point shooting from the entire team, the Altas managed to outscore the defending champions of the UAAP 41-22 in the fourth period to complete one of the most epic comebacks in FilOil History on Saturday evening, May 31, at the San Juan Arena.
La Salle, meanwhile, was spearheaded by Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal, who had 20 points each.
After trailing by as much as 20, UPHSD scored 4 of the first 5 points in the third quarter to get within 6 of DLSU, 51-45.
With his club’s large margin slowly coming to an end, Van Opstal went to work again in the post against Perpetual’s weak frontline, punishing them with a couple of hook shots and easy buckets.
With the paint packed thanks to La Salle’s bigs, driving and cutting lanes opened for Teng and Almond Vostros, both of whom were able to draw fouls to put the Taft-based club back up double-digits.
With a little over a minute to go, Norbert Torres followed up a miss shot with another put-back to help the Lasallians build another lead, 70-57, which was shortly followed by another bunny at the rim by Abu Tratter.
Heading into the game’s final 12 minutes, Perpetual was staring at a 16-point deficit, 73-57.
La Salle looked en route to booking a date with San Beda in the quarterfinals, up 10, 80-70, with about 6 minutes to go. However, a quick 8-0 run by UPHSD got them back in the game before a three-pointer by Vosotros ended his team’s dry spell.
With 3:30 to go and DLSU up only one, 86-85, a foul on Kib Montalbo sent Bolomia to the line, where he knocked down both to give Perpetual a slim margin. But on the next play, Vosotros hit another long-range bomb to let La Salle regain the lead.
With Teng failing to hit a floater that could have put La Salle up three, Harold Arboleda, who finished with 12 markers, scored to give UPHSD the lead back.
Moments later, the talented wingman converted on a put-back to help the Altas go up by 3.
Van Opstal split another visit to the line to make the count 92-90, but Gabriel Dagangon hit another three-ball to extend UPHSD’s lead to 5. A couple of missed free throws and miscues from DLSU later, and Perpetual had completed its fightback.
Though the Altas came up with the victory to tie the Green Archers at 4-2 in their Group standings, DLSU will earn one of the two final quarterfinal wildcard slots instead of UPHSD due to the league’s quotient system. SWU and JRU, ranked first and second in Group A, respectively, will also earn quarters slots.
The Green Archers will face FEU on Wednesday, June 4, at 2:00PM in a battle between the No. 2 and No. 7 seeds.
The Green Archers were more of the aggressors in the game’s early goings, as Arnold Van Opstal took advantage of Perpetual’s feeble frontline to help his club build an 11-2 lead.
However, the Altas bounced back, and were able to get within three, 19-16, by virtue of four quick points from Bolomia. In the succeeding possessions, a tandem of three-balls from Teng put La Salle back up nine, and the Green Archers were able to hold onto a 7-point lead, 28-21, entering the second period.
The game slowed down in the second quarter, with La Salle dumping the handle inside to its bigs. After Norbert Torres gave the guys in green a 10-point threshold, 34-24, La Salle continued its onslaught and extended their lead to 18, 42-24, thanks to a basket by Prince Rivero.
Coach Juno Sauler also got another steady day from rookie Julian Sargent, who was a menace on offense while disrupting the Altas’ sets.
Perpetual was able to get back thanks to a couple of trips to the charity stripe while their opponents committed consecutive turnovers. At the close of the second quarter, DLSU’s once 20-point lead was slimmed to nine, 50-41, following a midrange J by Gabriel Dagangon.
UPHSD (98): Baloria 43, Dagangon 15, Thompson 14, Arboleda 12, Oliveria 6, Allano 5, Ylagan 2, Dizon 1, Bantayan 0, Gallardo 0, Sadiwa 0, Cabiltes 0, Jolangcob 0, Elorpe 0
DLSU (95): Teng 20, Van Opstal 20, Vosotros 16, Sargent 9, Montalbo 8, Torres N 8, Torres T 4, Perkins 3, Tratter 3, Rivero 2, Salem 2, Andrada 0, Bolick 0
Quarter Scoring: 21-28, 41-50, 57-73, 98-95