All-around big man, Bright Akhuetie displayed his multi-faceted game to lead the University of Perpetual Help System Delta (UPHSD) Altas in an 89-77 win over the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals to maintain UPHSD’s perfect slate, Friday at the Filoil Flying V Arena, San Juan City.
The Altas quickly pounced on the Generals in the first quarter, gaining an 11-2 lead to open the game. The Generals were only able to score their second field goal of the game at the 2:19 mark with a Fernan Mejos lay-up. EAC big man tried to bring his team back into the game in scoring back-to-back baskets, but Kevin Oliveria matched him point for point. The Altas held an imposing 23-10 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
During the second quarter, the bench unit of Coach Aric del Rosario was unable to sustain the intensity of the starters on defense. As a result, Jerald Esplana and Sydney Onwebere exposed the defense with drives that resulted to fouls. By the three minute mark of the game, the Altas were already in the penalty. Slowly, the Generals chipped away the deficit to 24-27 with five minutes remaining in the quarter. With his team not gaining any offensive flow, Gilas Cadet member, Earl Thompson, made hard drives to the basket to get fouls. Thompson scored eight straight points, with four coming from free throws, to give UPHSD a 37-25 lead with 3:30 left. The Generals responded with a 10-1 run capped off by an Esplana three to enter halftime with the Altas up 40-34.
Syndey Onwubere opened the lower half of the game with nifty dish to Addum Mbang for a converted jumper to cut the deficit to just three points. Onwubere, then, converted on an and-1 play to bring the difference down by just a solitary point. After a quick timeout, big man Gabriel Dagangon willed his way through the General defense in scoring five straight points. Moreover, Akhuetie dominated the glass as he continued to gobble rebound after rebound. Holding a six point lead with 4:48 remaining in the third, Earl Thompson again exploded with a floater and excellent set-ups to extend the lead to 59-49. In addition, a lay-up plus a free throw by Dagangon gave the Altas a 15 point lead with 1:10 remaining in the third. The quarter ended with the Altas up 68-54.
It was more of the same in the final quarter. Even when the Generals applied a highly physical defense on the Altas, the Las Pinas-based squad adjusted to it and was still able to implement their sets. In the end, the Altas won the game with a 12-point margin, 89-77.
After the game, Coach Aric del Rosario felt disappointed with the way the referees handled the game. “Bakit hindi sila tumatawag ng foul kahit nasasaktan na si Bright? Sana naman maging fair sila sa mga tawag. I’ll bring this up to the NCAA mancomm para di ito matuloy sa NCAA,” Coach del Rosario told us. Coach Aric also commended his boys for not losing their cool even if the game turned physical.
Bright Akhuetie led the victors with a stat filling line of 27 points, 20 rebounds, and three blocks. Earl Thompson had 16 points on 5/11 shooting and dishing out eight assists, while Gabriel Dagangon also chipped in 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. On the other end, EAC was led by spitfire point guard Francis Munsayac with 17 points. Furthermore, leading scorer, Sydney Onwubere, scored 15 points but only had seven shot attempts.
As a team the Altas shot 47% from the field compared to a dismal 34% shooting from the Generals. The Altas also outrebounded EAC 52-38.
The UPHSD Altas next play the ADU Soaring Falcons on Saturday, May 16 at 1:30pm while the EAC Generals will go up against the CSJL Knights on Wednesday, May 13 at 1:30pm.
UPHSD 89 – Akhuitie 27, Thompson 16, Dagangon 16, Oliveria 13, Dizon 9, Bantayan 4, Elorpe 2, Coronel 2, Gallardo 0, Ylagan 0, Sadiwa 0, Cabiltes 0, Tamayo 0
EAC 77 – Munsayac 17, Onwubere 15, Laminou 9, Mbang 8, Aguilar 7, Mejos 6, Diego 5, Esplana 5, General 3, Corilla 2, Morada 0, Estacio 0, Serrano 0
|UPHSD (A, 3-0)||23||40||66||89|
|EAC (A, 1-2)||10||34||51||77|