University of Perpetual Help DALTA’s magical run in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup continues as it battled back from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Far Eastern University, 74-73, and secure a historic semifinals spot on Friday inside the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Jun Roque continued to be the beacon of the Altas’ rise, recording another strong performance with 27 points and six rebounds. JP Boral also contributed 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.
Having won six out of their eight games in the eliminations to top Group I, they have now reached the Final Four for the first time in the school’s history.
However, it took a total team effort at both ends of the court to turn the game around. Perpetual was trailing by nine points, 53-62, early in the fourth quarter and was still behind, 64-69, midway through the quarter. Boral’s three-pointer and Roque’s free throws finally brought them back on level ground with 3:18 remaining.
“Actually, ito yung hinahanap naming games. Yung previous teams kasi namin, ‘pag nalalamangan na, laging lubog e,” said head coach Myk Saguiguit. “This game, nakita ko yung buo ang loob ng players na kapag crunch time.”
(Actually, this is the kind of game we’ve been looking for. Our previous teams, when they fall behind, always sink. In this game, I saw that the players had strong determination during crunch time.)
Xyrus Torres briefly put FEU back on top, 71-69, before JC Abis joined Boral and Roque in a 5-0 run to give Perpetual a 74-71 lead. The Tamaraws still had 12.1 seconds to make something happen, but Torres and Royce Alforque missed their three-point attempts.
Mo Faty grabbed an offensive rebound for FEU and scored a short shot, but by then, only 0.7 seconds remained on the clock. With a successful inbound play, the Altas celebrated making history and now prepare to face the University of the Philippines.
“It will be another good game. Marami kaming learnings na makukuha dun ulit, panigurado,” said Saguiguit.
Also advancing to the next round is De La Salle University, which took control of the game against Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the third quarter, resulting in a dominant 101-79 victory.
Kevin Quiambao had a hot hand with 23 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while Evan Nelle contributed 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Joaqui Manuel also made important contributions with six points in a 17-2 run that turned a 49-45 lead into a commanding 66-47 advantage at the 5:57 mark of the third quarter.
La Salle maintained control of the game from that point on, securing a spot in the semifinals where they will face National University.
“We have so much respect for Letran. We knew this was their fourth game in five days so if we stepped on the gas, we were hoping they’d slow down,” said head coach Topex Robinson, as the Knights had played three games in this tourney and two games in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup since Monday. “But they still gave us a good fight, so credit to our guys for finding a way.”
The Green Archers, still perfect in the tourney, showed the might of their depth, with their bench contributing a whopping 68 points.
“Just giving everybody the chance, and with those opportunities, dun na lumalabas how much they want it. What you see is everybody’s just taking advantage of those opportunities,” said Robinson.
The Tamaraws and Knights exited the premiere preseason tournament supported by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten after being paced by Aeron Bagunu (14 points, two steals) and Kurt Reyson (17 points, eight assists, and two rebounds), respectively.
Perpetual 74 – Roque 27, Boral 15, Pagaran 9, Razon 8, Abis 5, Ferreras 3, Nitura 3, Nunez 2, Sevilla 2, Ramirez 0, Barcuma 0
FEU 73 – Bagunu 14, Torres 12, Anonuevo 12, Montemayor 11, Alforque 8, Faty 7, Sleat 7, Pasaol 2, Tempra 0, Ona 0, Felipe 0
Quarterscores: 17-25, 39-40, 53-60, 74-73
La Salle 101 – Quiambao 23, Nonoy 18, Nelle 12, Austria 7, M Phillips 6, Macalalag 6, Policarpio 6, Manuel 6, David 4, Abadam 4, Gollena 4, Nwankwo 2, Cortez 2, Escandor 1, B Phillips 0
Letran 79 – Reyson 17, Monje 11, Javillonar 10, Cuajao 9, Tolentino 9, Galoy 7, Santos 6, Bojorcelo 4, Morales 2, Guarino 2, Nunag 2, Brillantes 0, Bautista 0, Go 0
Quarterscores: 23-18, 52-45, 74-61, 101-79