The Perpetual Help Altas have had few reasons to smile in this lost season.
Their stunning win over St. Benilde on Friday, however, gave them a reason heading into the weekend.
With everyone making key contributions at both ends, Perpetual overcame an early deficit to stun College of Saint Benilde, 63-57, in the 87th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Fil Oil-Flying V Arena.
Jet Vidal had another erratic shooting performance, but made but timely baskets in the fourth quarter while the rest of the Altas crew provided solid contributions to secure just the second win in 11 matches for the Las Pinas-based cagers.
Perpetual also gave St. Benilde a big blow in its bid to catch up in the race for the last final four berth. With the loss, the Blazers’ record dropped to 4-7, 1 1/2 games behind Lyceum.
It was a morale-boosting victory for an Altas squad that faced numerous woes even before the start of the season.
The NCAA disallowed Paul Nuillan because of eligibility issues, which caused coach Boris Aldeguer to resign. The school shelved Marlon Gomez from the lineup before seeing key players nursing injuries.
After a stirring 79-77 triple overtime win over Jose Rizal University on July 25, the Altas lost their next five games.
A month later, coach Jimwell Gican and the Altas were again ajubilant bunch.
“Di na namin iniisip yung Final Four, basta kapag may laro e lalaban kami,” said Gican.
Despite going 4-of-17 from downtown and 6-of-23 from the field overall, Vidal hit three triples in the payoff period, including a jumper that shattered a 51-all stalemate with 2:54 left. He then fired a booming trey that made pushed the lead to 58-51 with barely a minute left.
Vidal finished with 19 points, four rebounds and two steals. He also got help from the tandem of Justine Alano and Anthony Paulino.
Alano and Paulino each had 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Altas slowly shut down the Blazers, who led 13-4 to start the game thanks to Paolo Taha.
Taha, who had 13 points for CSB, scored all his baskets in the first half. He was silent in the second half, and the rest of the Blazers seemed to follow suit, which allowed Perpetual to capitalize.
Carlo Lastimosa shrugged off an injured ankle he incurred in Wednesday’s 94-90 overtime loss to Mapua by scoring 12 points for St. Benilde. Jonathan Grey also added 12 points.
However, the Blazers’ record dropped to 4-7 after their second straight setback.
PERPETUAL 63 – Vidal 19, Alano 10, Paulino 10, Allen 8, Elopre 5, Sumera 4, Arboleda 3, Jolangcob 2, Tonggal 2, Thompson 0, Sison 0, Asuncion 0.
ST BENILDE 57 – Taha 13, Lastimosa 12, Grey 12, Sinco 8, Romero 6, McCoy 3, de la Paz 3, Tan 0, Altamirano 0, Nayve 0.
Quarters: 11-16; 20-29; 38-39; 63-57
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