Perpetual Help survived St. Benilde’s late onslaught and escaped with a 68-64 triumph last night to stay within striking distance of the leaders in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Rookie Juneric Baloria and Scott Thompson buried clutch free throws inside the last 35 seconds as the Altas nailed their ninth win in 12 games and firmed up their hold of third spot.
The Altas nearly wasted a nine-point lead as the Blazers mounted a searing rally capped by a Mark Romero triple that tied the game at 64 heading into the final 51 seconds.
The ending followed a familiar script for the Blazers, who again lost a game decided in the final seconds and dropped to seventh spot with a 5-7 card. St. Benilde has lost seven games by a combined 11 points.
In the first game, John Pinto knocked in a fadeaway jumper with 1.7 seconds left to lift Arellano to a thrilling 76-75 win over Lyceum.
Pinto’s shot over the outstretched arms of Jeremiah Taladua capped a sensational fightback by the Chiefs, who erased a seven-point deficit in the last 2:50 and notched only their fourth victory in 12 games.
Prince Caperal also came up with a monster performance for the Chiefs, finishing with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
Pinto shone in the final period where he fired 11 of his 15 points.
“It was a miracle shot,” Pinto said. “The play was for Prince, but they (Pirates) sagged on him, so I had to create my own shot.”
ARELLANO 76—Caperal 25, Pinto 15, Agovida 11, Salcedo 8, Forrester 8, Hernandez 5, Margallo 4, Gumaru 0, Jalalon 0, Nicholls 0, Bangga 0, Serjue 0, Cadavis 0.
LYCEUM 75—Mbomiko 17, Zamora 15, Ko 15, Baltazar 6, Francisco 6, Ambohot 6, Lesmoras 4, Lacastesantos 3, Azores 2, Mendoza 1.
Quarters: 15-14, 31-31, 55-55, 76-75
PERPETUAL 68—Baloria 18, Arboleda 15, Omorogbe 14, Alano 11, Thompson 6, Ylagan 2, Elopre 2, Oliveria 0, Dizon 0, Jolangcob 0.
ST. BENILDE 64—Taha 17, Romero 12, Bartolo 11, Garcia 7, Saavedra 5, Argamino 5, Grey 5, Ongteco 2.
Quarters: 21-12, 30-28, 52-50, 68-64