PERPETUAL Help tries to pick up from where it left off in the first round when it squares off with an inspired Arellano squad today in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Gunning for their eighth win in 10 starts, the Altas hope to catch up with idle San Beda at second spot as they go for a season sweep of the Chiefs in the 4 p.m. showdown.
Jose Rizal U seeks to get back on the winning track against St. Benilde in the second game at 6 p.m.
Derailed by the Chiefs the last time out, the Bombers, with a 5-4 record, are looking to tighten their grip on the fourth and last Final Four spot.
But the Blazers, who dropped a close 71-73 decision to the Bombers in the first round, remain a dangerous foe, spurred by the fact that they had pushed teams to the limit.
In fact, the Blazers could have easily gone unbeaten in the first round with a single basket proving to be the difference in their six losses.
After an impressive three-game winning run, the Blazers fell short in the endgame anew last Monday when they absorbed an 89-90 loss to the Altas in overtime.
Jonathan Grey and Mark Romero dished out their best games of the season with 29 and 25 points, respectively, in a losing cause.
Despite being on opposite ends of the standings, the Altas do not expect to just roll over the Chiefs, who bucked the absence of swingman James Forrester to overcome the Bombers, 67-64, last Aug. 24.
“I hope that our good play will continue in the second round,” said coach Aric Del Rosario, whose Altas have already improved on their first round showing from last season.
The Altas boast of the league’s leading scorer in Juneric Baloria, who is averaging 21.2 points per outing, and the No. 2 and No. 3-ranked players in the Most Valuable Player race in Nosa Omorogbe and Harold Arboleda, respectively.
Stopping Baloria and Omorogbe will be foremost on the Chiefs’ plans after the duo combined for 47 points against the Blazers.
The Chiefs will try to counter with Prince Caperal, John Pinto and Levi Hernandez as they try to nail back-to-back wins for the second time this season.
While Paolo Pontejos and Michael Mabulac have proven to be steady contributors for JRU, the Bombers hope to get more production from Philip Paniamogan, who has since cooled off after a string of explosive performances in the first round.