Perpetual Help Altas frustrate UST Tigers for Fr. Martin Cup title
MANILA, Philippines — Perpetual Help got a huge boost from Juneric Baloria and Nigerian center Akhuetie Bright in extinguishing University of Santo Tomas, 65-56, for the 20th Fr. Martin Cup seniors’ basketball championship on rainy Thursday.
Baloria and Bright had 17 points apiece for the Altas, who quickly regained their bearings with an 8-0 run after the Tigers, who played catch up all-game long, tied the match for the first time at 46 with 9:38 left.
Back-to-back triples from Harold Arboleda and Joel Jolangco along with a pair of freebies from Bright restored order, 54-46, before the Altas stretched the lead back to double digits, 61-50, with over five minutes to play.
“That’s really one of the team’s problems. They relax when they have the lead. They should learn from this,” said veteran head coach Aric Del Rosario, who also coached UST back in the day, in Filipino.
Perpetual Help, which recently stunned La Salle in the Filoil Pre-Season Cup, led by as many as 15 early in the third quarter as the Altas’ interior defense forced several miscues that turned into easy points.
Though the injury-stricken Tigers came alive on a 16-3 run sparked by Karim Abdul, who scored seven of his 17 points in that run, the Altas just proved too much for the UAAP finalists.
“Beating UST is big for us. It’s a morale-boosting win for our team,” said Del Rosario, whose squad will plunge back to action in the NCAA on June 28. “We really wanted to win this Fr. Martin title after so many tries.”
The Altas lost the crown to the National University last year, and then bowed to the College of St. Benilde in the Collegiate Open conference.
The Tigers, who skipped the Filoil pre-season cup due to lack of players, missed key cogs like Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer but got nine points from Aljon Mariano, and seven points each from Paulo Pe and Louie Vigil.
UST, which will return to action in the UAAP in July, is under new head coach Bong Dela Cruz.
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