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Tiebreaker Times


Mark Omega’s winner vs Lyceum was not luck but dedication

Though it was initially considered a dark horse contender for the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA did not have the best start to the season.

The Altas kicked off with a 4-7 record, finding themselves near the bottom of the standings.

For head coach Myk Saguiguit, whether they won or lost, the standings were far from their concerns.

“Actually, wala na sa isip namin ‘yung standing sa Season 99. It’s just kung sino ‘yung kasunod na kalaro namin, we’re gonna prepare, we’re gonna focus. Hindi namin tinitingnan sa social media ‘yung standing namin, and we’re very happy sa nagiging resulta ng game namin,” explained Saguiguit.

With their one-game-at-a-time mentality, the Altas turned their season around, embarking on a four-game win streak and achieving an 8-7 record as they marched towards a place in the final four.

Their biggest challenge came in the last of their four wins, facing one of the top two teams in the league for Season 99 — Lyceum of the Philippines University.

As the Altas struggled to pull away from Lyceum, a fourth straight victory seemed unlikely.

Perpetual was entering Lyceum’s forte: a grind-it-out battle decided in the fourth quarter, where the Pirates’ superior expertise and experience consistently prevailed throughout the season.

In the final seconds, an unlikely hero stepped up to save Perpetual from defeat. Mark Omega, the Altas’ junior center, saved a broken end-of-game play with a clutch three-pointer that he banked off the glass to secure the 81-80 victory.

Before this game, Omega had attempted only six threes for the entire season and made three of them, making his heroics in the final seconds even more unlikely.

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“Hindi ko po alam, hindi lang po first time tumitira po talaga. Iniisip ko po na hindi papasok kasi last po eh, pero God’s will. Tamang tama. Hindi po ako makapaniwala na nagawa ko po iyon. Sobrang saya talaga,” said Omega after the game.

For Saguiguit, the shot was far from just luck, as he had seen the former Letran Squire work on that shot throughout the season.

“Breakdown na play iyon actually kay Jielo, eh ang ganda ng pop niya [ni Omega] at he deserved that shot kasi sa ensayo pinapractice niya ‘yan. Boarding nga, eh nakaka-20 sunod ‘yan na boarding hindi chamba ‘yon. Thank you, Lord,” shared Saguiguit.

Despite Omega’s timely game-winner, the difficulty of Perpetual’s schedule is far from lightened. On Wednesday, the new top-seeded team, Mapua University, is set to test the Altas’ resolve.

With momentum fully on their side, Perpetual is ready for the battle.

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA

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