A FLURRY of triples in the second half propelled Emilio Aguinaldo College to a stunning 87-64 win over Letran last night in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena.
The Generals buried nine triples in a blistering second half charge that lifted them to solo fifth spot with a 6-7 card, while spoiling the Knights’ bid to seize a share of the lead with San Beda.
Jolas Paguia fired 16 points built on four triples, while Jan Jamon shot 11 points, including three treys in just nine minutes of play in the third period, where the Generals ripped the game wide open. EAC outscored Letran, 27-10, in the third period.
“They (Letran) played zone and they paid for it,” said EAC coach Gerry Esplana. “This is a big morale boost for us after facing the Top 3 teams.”
The loss sent the Knights reeling to third spot, after Perpetual Help moved into the No. 2 position with a 73-65 thumping of Mapua in the first game.
Confined in the hospital Friday night, Juneric Baloria mustered enough strength to carry the Altas past the hapless Cardinals.
Baloria, bucking flu-like symptoms, pumped in 18 points and got plenty of help from Earl Thompson.
“It was tough playing because I had difficulty breathing, but the team needs me and I needed to step up,” said Baloria, who was coming off a 32-point performance against Jose Rizal U.
Hounded by injuries this season, Thompson finally unleashed his finest performance with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists to propel the Altas to their 11th win in 14 games.
Usually deployed as a shooting guard, Thompson played the point guard role for long stretches and coach Aric del Rosario said he needed the third-year player to gain confidence going into the homestretch.
The Cardinals fell to 1-12.
PERPETUAL HELP 73—Baloria 18, Arboleda 17, Thompson 13, Alano 12, Omorogbe 5, Elopre 5, Bitoy 3, Dizon 0, Bantayan 0, Lucente 0, Jolangcob 0.
MAPUA 65 —Brana 19, Biteng 18, Isit 10, Ighalo 8, Magsigay 4, Saitanan 4, Estrella 2, Gabo 0, Eriobu 0, Gonzalez 0, Cantos 0.
Quarters: 20-22, 37-37, 55-50, 73-65
EAC 87—Paguia 16, Tayongtong 14, Arquero 14, Happi 13, Jamon 11, Morada 9, King 3, Munsayac 3, Onwubere 3, Castro 1, Hiole Manga 0, Saludo 0.
LETRAN 64—Cruz 18, Almazan 14, Nambatac 10, Tambeling 8, Belorio 8, Racal 4, Publico 2, Castro 0, Po 0, Luib 0, Gabawan 0, Oluto 0, Buenaflor 0.
Quarters: 14-17, 33-35, 60-45, 87-64