Games Tuesday(Filoil EcoOil Arena)1:30 p.m. — Letran vs AU3:30 p.m. — JRU vs EAC
UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help’s (UPHSD) Mark Omega was always a reluctant three-point shooter and would just happily fill his role as a physical and rugged force and inside presence.
But with time running out and the game on the line, the 23-year-old bruiser from Cagayan Valley didn’t hesitate, took and nailed perhaps the biggest shot of his life by banging in the game-winning triple in an epic 81-80 squeaker over Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) on Sunday.
It was a shot heard all over the Filoil EcoOil Arena and back in Las Piñas as it sent the Myk Saguiguit-mentored Altas to their fourth straight win and eighth overall in 15 games and into NCAA Season 99 Final Four contention.
After that shot and UPHSD made the huge stop with 2.3 seconds to go, the Altas whooped it up on the court and mugged and hugged Mr. Omega, with some shedding tears of joy, as if they just won a championship.
It was an unbelievable feeling for a UPHSD team finally living up to its pre-season reputation as the tournament dark horse.
It was a heartbreaker for the LPU Pirates, who appeared headed to snaring the win until fate intervened.
LPU fell to 11-4 instead and its five-game streak snapped.
Earlier, College of St. Benilde (CSB) dominated the boards and San Sebastian College-Recoletos with an emphatic 78-68 win, the former’s 10th against five defeats.
Last year’s MVP Will Gozum reclaimed his starting job and reciprocated with a 14-point, eight-carom and four-assist performance but it was the smaller backcourt tandem of Miguel Cortez and Robi Nayve who came out bigger as the two finished with double-double efforts including 10 boards each.
“It’s good now that I can challenge my bigs to rebound more than the guards. Overall, it was a good rebounding game for us,” said CSB coach Charles Tiu.
In the third game, Mapua held San Beda to just five points in the fourth quarter and leaned on Paolo Hernandez’s huge triple late to eke out an 71-69 win and seize the solo lead with a 12-3 card.
The Lions dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 with an 8-6 mark. — Joey Villar
CSB 78- Gozum 14, Nayve 13, Oczon 13, Mara 12, Corteza 6, Carlos 4, Cajucom 4, Sangco 4, Jarque 3, Turco 3, Morales 2, Marcos 0, Arciaga 0
SSC-R 68- Calahat 14, Despyo 11, Re. Gabat 8, Are 8, Escobido 7, Felebrico 6, Sumoda 5, Shanoda 5, Una 4, De Leon 0
Quarterscores: 21-12; 43-41; 58-54; 78-68
UPHSD 81- Nitura 18, Pagaran 14, Roque 14, Omega 10, Razon 9, Abis 8, Boral 5, Gelsano 3, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Ferreras 0, Cuevas 0
LPU 80- Valdez 16, Barba 14, Umali 11, Montano 11, Guadana 11, Omandac 8, Bravo 5, Cunanan 4, Versoza 0, Villegas 0, Penafiel 0, Fuentes 0, Moralejo 0
Quarterscores: 24-25; 39-47; 65-66; 81-80
Mapua 71- Escamis 21, Cuenco 14, Bonifacio 11, Rosillo 8, Asuncion 6, Hernandez 4, Soriano 4, Recto 3, Igliane 0, Morenos 0, Dalisay 0
San Beda 69- Cortez 24, Andrada 15, Puno 9, Tagle 7, Visser 4, Jopia 4, Cuntapay 3, Payosing 3, Royo 0, Gonzales 0, Gallego 0, Alfaro 0
Quarterscores: 19-17; 40-38; 54-64; 81-80