Emilio Aguinaldo College overcame a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter to pull off a 73-71 upset over Perpetual Help in NCAA Season 88 action Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Altas were still leading, 54-37, before EAC rattled off a 13-2 run to cut the lead to just six points entering the fourth quarter. The Generals rained six three-pointers in the final period, with John Tayongtong going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, to complete the comeback.
“Natuwa ako sa team. They refused to give up,” said EAC coach Gerry Esplana.
“Sa pre-game, hinayaan ko sila mag-speak up dahil sa last two practices namin, ang sloppy nila. Even in the first half, sloppy din ang nilaro nila. Sabi ko nga at the half, wag na tayo lumabas, nakakahiya lang. So nung nag-start kami makapag-pressure, dun nakuha ng mga bata ang morale at momentum.”
A 13-0 fourth quarter run, highlighted by Tayongtong’s long bombs, gave EAC a 69-64 lead.
But the Altas continued to threaten, cutting the lead to just two points, 70-68, with just 33 seconds left. Franz Chiong hit a backbreaking three-pointer for EAC in the ensuing possession to push the Generals lead to five points, 73-68, with just 8.5 seconds left.
Perpetual responded quickly as Earl Thompson hit a quick three-pointer to cut the lead to just two points with 5.3 seconds left. The Altas then fouled Cedric Happi Noube, who missed both free throws.
That gave Perpetual one last shot with just 0.7 seconds left. Jett Vidal got a good look at the basket, but his three-pointer bounced off the rim.
“Maganda yung hugot ko kay Tayongtong. Kahit maliit ang EAC, may tiwala ako sa lalim ng guard rotation ko kaya may luxury ako mag-sub kaagad pag may mag-error,” said Esplana.
Jan Jamon paced the Generals with 20 points. Happi only had six points but he managed to grab 15 rebounds.
Thompson finished with 17 points for the Altas while Vidal and George Allen chipped in 15 and 13, respectively.
EAC (73) — Jamon 20, Paguia 11, Tayongtong 10, Happi 6, Monteclaro 6, King 5, Chiong 5, Morada 5, Yaya 3, Sanchez 2, Munsayac 0.
Perpetual (71) — Thompson 17, Vidal 15, Allen 13, Omorogbe 10, Alano 8, Arboleda 3, Paulino 4, Jolangcob 2, Elopre 0, Babayemi 0.
Quarters: 14-15, 33-41, 50-56, 73-71
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