Bright Akhuetie turned his video game mode on to lift University of Perpetual Help Dalta System (UPHSD) Altas against College of St. Benilde (CSB) Blazers, 81-78, in the 2015 FilOil-Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, Wednesday morning at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
The Blazers started right in the opening frame, converting a slim 12-11 lead in the 3:32 mark to a huge eleven-point, 23-12, lead behind the early offense provided by Jonathan Grey, JR Ongteco, and Rene Sta. Maria with 1:22 on the clock. Gerald Dizon and Prince Eze punched baskets to trim CSB’s lead, but the Blazers managed to hold on and end the first quarter ahead, 27-18.
CSB managed to keep the lead come the second quarter, maintaining the double-digit lead, 33-22, with five minutes left. The Perps, however, stormed back from the deficit, as Akhuetie pounded the CSB defense inside the paint to bring back UPHSD into contention. Akhuetie, with contributions from Gabriel Dagangon, steered the Altas to a 19-2 run to end the first half for UPHSD, 41-35.
The Altas sustained their rhythm in the third quarter, posting their first double-digit lead of the game, 55-45, after an Akhuetie layup with less than four minutes left. CSB scored five straight to close in, 55-50, with 1:55 to go in the quarter, but UPHSD replied with seven straight points highlighted by two Akhuetie and-one lay-ups to approach the final chapter up by twelve, 62-50.
Despite trailing by double figures, the Blazers still chipped in baskets to trim the deficit. From a 79-69 lag, CSB, behind Jonathan Grey and Romeo Nayve, scored seven unanswered points to close to just three, and make it a one-possession game, 79-76, with less than a minute to go. However, UPHSD sent their comeback hopes in tatters, as Akhuetie made another layup in the dying seconds of the game to seal UPHSD’s win, which serves as a bounce-back victory after their loss against JRU, last Saturday, May 30.
Akhuetie’s monstrous performance was evident on the stat sheet, leading the Perps with 35 points and 20 rebounds. Dagangon added 13 markers highlighted by two triples. CSB, meanwhile, was led by Grey with 21 and 15 from Ongteco.
“Gusto kasi makabawi mula sa pagkatalo sa JRU,” explained UPHSD Head Coach Aric Del Rosario, regarding the dominant game Akhuetie displayed. “Hindi makatulog. Kaya ayun, bumawi ngayon.”
When asked about how his team eked out the win, Del Rosario insisted that it is their defense that propelled them to a 6-1 record. “Ang ine-emphasize ko kasi sa kanila, depensa lang. Yun ang importante. Kasi ‘pag tayo nakadepensa, madali na lang maka-score.”
The National University Bulldogs will be UPHSD’s next opponent on June 6, Saturday, at 11:45 AM. Meanwhile, this game serves as CSB’s last game of the tournament, ending the pre-season meet with a 3-5 record.
UPHSD 81 – Akhuetie 35, Dagangon 13, Oliveria 8, Ylagan 6, Dizon 6, Eze 6, Gallardo 4, Coronel 3, Sadiwa 0, Elorpe 0, Pido 0, Imperial 0
CSB 78 – Grey 21, Ongteco 15, Jonson 8, Young 8, Nayve 8, Saavedra 7, Sta. Maria 4, Castor 4, Domingo 2, Deles 2, Fajarito 0, Norberte 0, Flores 0
|UPHSD (A, 6-1)||18||41||62||81|
|CSB (A, 3-5)||27||35||50||78|