Altas clobber Pirates; Knights whip Blazers
With its less-heralded Nigerian reinforcement leading the charge, Perpetual Help bucked a listless start to trounce Lyceum, 70-61, Tuesday even as Letran came up with a rousing debut in the 91st NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
With much of the spotlight centered on teammate Bright Akhuetie, Nigerian center Prince Eze efficiently delivered 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Altas who pulled away late in the game for their first win.
The Knights, meanwhile, gave rookie coach Aldin Ayo a victorious start with a wire-to-wire 82-53 win over the St. Benilde Blazers.
The Knights wreaked havoc with their pressure defense, forcing 33 turnovers which they translated to 32 points for the lopsided win.
“We had a slow start but we were able to adjust,” said the 6-foot-11 Eze, who had 11 points in the second quarter. “I still want to improve and I understand that it’s a process.”
Reigning MVP Scott Thompson also posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards for the Altas, who climbed out of an early double-digit hole before dominating the last three quarters.
Thompson accounted for half of the output in a closing 16-4 burst as the Altas spoiled the coaching debut of Topex Robinson with Lyceum.
Tipped to become the league’s next important big man, Akhuetie nine points and 11 boards in 18 minutes.
“We won it the hard way,” said Ayo. “I want the players to work hard for 40 minutes because that’s our only chance. We want chaos on both ends to keep our opponents guessing.”
PERPETUAL HELP 70—Eze 21, Thompson 12, Dagangon 12, Akhuetie 9, Coronel 6, Elopre 5, Ylagan 3, Oliveria 2, Dizon 0, Gallardo 0.
LYCEUM 61—Alanes 13, Baltazar 11, Nguidjol 11, Bulawan 11, Mbida 8, Taladua 3, Soliman 2, Gabayni 2, Sunga 0, Malabanan 0, Lacastesantos 0, Ayaay 0, Lugo 0.
Quarters: 9-16, 20-24, 46-46, 70-61
LETRAN 82—Cruz 16, Quinto 14, Nambatac 11, Sollano 10, Balanza 7, Racal 6, Calvo 5, Balagasay 5, Apreku 4, Dela Pena 4.
ST. BENILDE 53—Grey 16, Domingo 10, Ongteco 8, Saavedra 7, Nayve 5, Jonson 4, Sta. Maria 2, Deles 1, Castor 0.
Quarters: 20-10, 37-24, 58-37, 82-53
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