MANILA, Philippines — Perpetual Help bucked a serious threat from Jose Rizal University to win, 64-61, in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Monday night at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Juneric Baloria poured in a game-high 32 points as the Altas continued to breath down the necks of league leaders Letran and defending champion San Beda for a crack at an all-important top two finish heading into the Final Four.
“Tulungan lang kami. Kailangan namin talagan mag-cooperate sa isa’t-isa,” said the first year guard Baloria, who hit 13-of-23 from the field and also grabbed six rebounds.
Harold Arboleda added a double-double with 13 points, including a crucial bucket that put Perpetual Help back on top, 61-59, with just 1:41 left, and 11 rebounds.
Nosa Omorogbe struggled mightily at the offensive end but made up for it with a game-saving block on a three-point attempt by Marco Balagtas in the dwindling seconds.
The Atlas, who hiked their mark to 10-3, squandered a double-digit lead they built in the first half as the Heavy Bombers, led by their skipper Michael Mabulac, fought back and put up quite a scare — pulling to within one, 61-62, with 19.7 ticks remaining.
Mabulac scored 28 points and pulled down 19 rebounds in a losing effort as JRU slipped into a three way logjam with St. Benilde and Emilio Aguinaldo College in fifth place at 5-7, two games behind fourth running San Sebastian.
Chris Elopre scored his only points at the line — sinking two freebies that gave the Altas a 64-61 cushion with 18.1 seconds left.
In need of a triple to force overtime, the Bombers were left without their best three-point shooter Philip Paniamogan, who fouled out in the previous play.