He could have shot a two-pointer to force an extra period. Jet Vidal decided to go for the win instead.
After a scoreless first half, Vidal hit the game-winning three-pointer with 5.1 seconds left to help Perpetual Help complete a miracle comeback over Emilio Aguinaldo College, 72-71, in Season 88 action Saturday at the FilOil Flying V arena.
The Altas were down 71-60 with just 1:29 left before Vidal caught fire, scoring nine points, all on three-pointers, in a game-ending 12-0 run.
Vidal began the run by banging in back-to-back three-pointers, cutting the EAC lead to just five points, 71-66, with 1:11 left.
Perpetual forced several turnovers, allowing Earl Thompson to score on a layup and a split from the line to come to within two points, 71-69.
The Altas sent Generals freshman guard Jorem Morada, who led all scorers with 23 points. The 17-year-old cracked under pressure, missing both free throws, allowing Vidal to hit his final three-pointer for the victory.
The miracle ending left Perpetual coach Aric del Rosario in tears. “Basta sabi ko sa kanila, habang may oras, kaya pa yan. Yung nasa likod ng mga t-shirt nila na ‘We Stay Together,’ dun tayo. Dapat sundin natin yun, manalo o matalo,” he said.
Del Rosario, the architect of the University of Santo Tomas dynasty in the mid-1990s, said there was something special about this Altas squad.
“Marami na akong naging team, pero ito yung first tima na lagi ako nag-iisip, lagi ako nagdadasal coming into a game,” he said. “Special ito dahil medyo nasusunod na ang coach sa dulo lalo sa closing.”
Vidal finished with 17 points, despite shooting just 4-of-17 from the field. Del Rosario compared his hotshot guard to former UST sniper Henry Ong, who became a cult hero after helping the Tigers win titles with timely three-point bombs.
“Siya talaga ang key sa mga panalo namin. Magaling talaga at experienced. Para syang si Henry Ong, yung maliit pero buo ang puso,” said del Rosario.
It was Perpetual fifth victory in seven games, while EAC’s win-loss record fell to a league-worst 1-6.
Perpetual (72) – Vidal 17, Arboleda 11, Omorogbe 11, Thompson 9, Alano 8, Allen 6, Babayemi 6, Elopre 4, Paulino 0, Jolangcob 0, Bitoy 0.
EAC (71) – Morada 23, Happi 13, Jamon 12, Tayongtong 12, Yaya 7, Chiong 4, Paguia 0, King 0, Monteclaro 0, Sanchez 0.
Quarters: 13-15, 35-33, 43-52, 72-71
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