MANILA, Philippines — Perpetual Help jumped the gun early and held on to a 73-66 victory over struggling Arellano, 73-66, Thursday in the NCAA season 89 men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
The Altas clamped on the Chiefs in the third quarter, 21-9, and continued their balanced attack for their fourth win and a piece of the second place, tied with San Beda.
Three players finished in double-digits for Perpetual Help, which outrebounded Arellano, 46-31, and registered 19 assists.
“That has been my dream for a team. That’s what you can truly call a team,” said veteran head coach Aric Del Rosario in Filipino.
Del Rosario ordered his players to push the tempo in the third quarter seeing that the Chiefs were starting to tire out.
“They earned that lead. Arellano is a fighter team. I just told the boys let’s not waste what we worked for,” Del Rosario added. “I told them to just run.”
The Altas led by as many as 15 points.
Newcomer Juneric Baloria led the Altas with 21 points, earning him the respect of his teammates, while Harold Arboleda pulled down 20 boards.
“He doesn’t play like a rookie. He can carry this team,” said senior Chrisper Elopre, who added 12 points, of Baloria.
John Pinto led the Chiefs, meanwhile, with 17 points while Levi Hernandez added 11 but only drew six from key guys Prince Caperal and Fil-Canadian James Forrester.