What streak? Eze, Altas halt Pirates run
Letran’s Bong Quinto had his third triple-double of the season, a feat that should have earned him the right to call the NCAA triple-header Friday as his own.
Prince Eze and the Perpetual Help Altas, however, had other things in mind.
Eze scored on a putback with a tenth of a second remaining as the Altas, sent to the court by their coach with fight in their hearts, snapped Lyceum’s unbeaten start to the season, 83-81, at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
“Big game,” said Perpetual coach Frankie Lim of Eze. “He played like an MVP.”
The description was apt. With the game tied at 81-all, Eze rescued an air-balled triple by Tonton Peralta and nailed the basket that stopped the Pirates’ pillaging run at 12.
The Altas also sealed their seventh win in 12 games to keep their Final Four hopes afloat.
Lyceum also got foiled in its bid to sweep the elimination round like it did last season, ending their preliminary round run at 30 games.
It was the second game-winner for Eze this season. The 6-foot-9 Nigerian also scored the go-ahead basket in a 78-76 win over San Sebastian in the first round on Aug. 9. But he did not take the fight to the Pirates alone, as the Altas entered the court with every intent of slaying the tournament’s top gun.
“I told them before the game, I want to see them on attack mode,” said Lim.
Edgar Charcos finished with 20 points as he held the team steady until the stretch.
The 23-year-old Quinto thus saw his feat reduced to the sidelines of Perpetual’s huge upset, but it was nevertheless noteworthy: 11 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as the Knights drubbed the Mapua Cardinals, 84-69, in the other game.
The Knights thus tightened their hold of the No. 3 spot with an 8-4 record.
“It’s easier for him to do it because he’s one of the leaders of the team and he is familiar with his teammates,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa of Quinto.
St. Benilde continued breathing down Letran’s neck at No. 4 after it smashed Arellano University, 89-73.
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