Perpetual Help had an answer to every shot that St. Benilde nailed in an overtime to remember, hacking out a thrilling 90-89 triumph last night to gain a share of second spot in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Juneric Baloria and Nosa Omorogbe delivered 25 and 22 points, respectively, but it was Chris Elopre who fired the decisive basket with 15 seconds left in overtime that lifted the Altas to a 7-2 record, in a tie with idle San Beda.
The Blazers again fell short in another tight game, losing for the sixth time in nine outings, although Jonathan Grey and Mark Romero did their part in pushing the Altas to the limit with explosive performances with 29 and 25 points, respectively.
The Lyceum Pirates earlier survived a fourth-quarter slump to repulse the San Sebastian Stags, 60-55, and snap a five-game losing slide and end the first round with a 3-6 record.
The Pirates entered the final period with a 58-33 lead but were held to a season-low two points before pinning a fourth loss in nine games on the Stags.
“It felt like the other team was winning by the end of the game,” said Lyceum coach Bonnie Tan, whose team won for the first time since July 6, when it dumped Mapua, 74-59.
Almost lost in the din of the bizarre ending was the 19-point explosion of Wilson Baltazar, Lyceum’s struggling shooter, who found his range with a 5-of-11 clip from beyond the arc.
Baltazar did the damage in the middle quarters, helping the Pirates erect a 27-point buffer at 58-31 near the end of the third period.
LYCEUM 60—Baltazar 19, Lacastesantos 12, Taladua 9, Mendoza 6, Mbomiko 4, Alanes 3, Evangelista 2, Ambohot 2, Ko 2, Garcia 1, Soliman 0, Lesmoras 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN 55—Perez 16, Ortuoste 9, Guinto 8, Dela Cruz 7, Tano 6, De Vera 5, Gusi 2, Trinidad 2, Rebollos 0, Vergara 0, Aquino 0, Magno 0.
Quarters: 18-4, 36-21, 58-33, 60-55
PERPETUAL 90—Baloria 25, Omorogbe 22, Arboleda 19, Alano 19, Elopre 4, Oliveria 1, Dizon 0, Thompson 0, Bantayan 0, Paulino 0, Jolangcob 0, Bitoy 0.
ST. BENILDE 89—Grey 29, Romero 25, Taha 14, Saavedra 9, Bartolo 8, Jonson 3, Ongteco 1, Sinco 0, Argamino 0, Garcia 0, Deles 0.
Quarters: 24-13, 45-42, 60-62, 80-80, 90-89 (OT)