He has won more games than anyone can remember, but on the eve of his debut as Perpetual Help coach, Aric del Rosario had butterflies on his stomach.
“Ninenebyos ako coming into today’s game. Eight years akong hindi nag-coach. Last night, hindi ako nakatulog. Excited and pressured at the same time na magdeliver today,” said the legendary coach, who was the architect of the 1990s dynasty of the University of Santo Tomas.
His players stepped up, defeating the Lyceum Pirate 82-70 to give him his first victory in the Altas sidelines Wednesday in exciting NCAA action at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Veteran wingman Jett Vidal poured in 13 points in the second half for the Altas, who won an opening for the first time since 2007.
Before that, Perpetual used a commanding 14-0 run in the first half to take a 26-14 lead. Rookie Nosa Omorogbe, Justin Alano and Joel Jolangcob paved the way for that early Altas domination.
The Pirates tried to rally in the second half, but Vidal’s timely hits kept them at bay.
With the first win out of the way, Del Rosario said he expects more out of his wards.
“Hindi kami pwede magrelax. Malaki ang expectations hindi lang sa akin pati sa team. Alam ko ang capacity ng team and alam kong kaya nila magdeliver,” he said.
“Ang school administration and officials ng Perpetual nanood ngayon, pati buong pamilya ko nanood din para sumuporta.”
Vidal finished with 17 points, while wily guard Earl Thompson chipped in 16. 6-foot-4 Cameroonian rookie Nosa Omorogbe, who is coming off an ACL injury, added 14 points for the Altas.
Lyceum suffered its second straight loss to open the season. Pirates coach Bonnie Tan chalked up the loss to experience. “We’re the youngest team in the NCAA. I just want the team to improve their maturity every game. How we finish a game strong is still our big problem. Never nagkulang sa suporta ang administration ng LPU sa team. Eventually, we’ll get that elusive win soon. Baby steps lang kami towards our goal and that is to win as many games as we can lang muna ngayon.”
Perpetual Help (82) – Vidal 17, Thompson 16, Omorogbe 14, Paulino 9, Babayemi 6, Allen 6, Jolangcob 5, Alano 5, Arboleda 2, Elopre 2, Asuncion 0.
Lyceum (70) – Cayabyab 17, Ko 11, Francisco 11, Zamora 9, Laude 8, Guevarra 4, Azores 4, Garcia 2, Edding 0, Mendoza 0, Martinez 0, Mallari 0.
Quarters: 19-14, 39-26, 57-54, 82-70.
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