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Tiebreaker Times


NCAA 99: Mark Omega steals victory from Lyceum, propels Perpetual to tie with EAC at 6th

In the dying seconds of the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA’s bout against league-leading Lyceum of the Philippines University, Mark Omega rose up to knock down a go-ahead triple.

That helped the Altas steal the 81-80 victory from the hands of the Pirates in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament on Sunday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.

The Altas ended a five-game win streak from the top-seeded Pirates and have put themselves in a position to make it back into the final four picture.

“We’re just happy kung ano nagagawa namin sa Season 99. We’re making a lot of people happy, yung Perpetual, yung season napagansa namin kasi lahat ng top four teams nandiyan eh ngayon lumalabas si Perpetual, at ang sarap ng feeling na naka end kami ng streak,” shared third-year Altas head coach Myk Saguiguit.

“It’s very rewarding. Sabi ko sa kanila kanina ito yung reward natin yung game na ito, so paglabas natin ng dugout kunin natin yung bonus, at binigay nga ni Mark yung bonus.”

The Altas fell behind by as much as 12 points, 47-59 after a pair of free throws from Enoch Valdez with 5:51 on the clock.

However, they fought back in the back half of the frame to give themselves a fighting chance in the fourth quarter. They outscored Lyceum 18-6 in the rest of the third to enter the final quarter down just one, 65-66.

Throughout the fourth canto, the Pirates refused to give up control of the lead as they maintained the advantage until the final seconds.

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With 26 seconds on the clock and the Altas down two, 78-80, Valdez stole the ball from Cyrus Nitura. He got out on the fastbreak, drawing the foul from Nitura to earn the opportunity to ice the game.

Both of Valdez’s freebies failed to find the bottom of the net, giving the Altas a second life.

Down the other end, a chaotic possession ended with the Altas’ center Omega finding the ball in his hands behind the three-point line.

Omega, who had only hit three threes in the entire season up to that point, took the three with the clock winding down. He banked it against the board and into the rim, giving Perpetual the 81-80 lead.

The Pirates had five seconds to muster up a game-winner, but the inbound pass slipped out of the hands of Valdez, giving the Altas the victory.

Saguiguit broke down the play after the game, saying it was originally meant for team captain Jielo Razon.

“Break down 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 iyon. Thank you, Lord,” explained Saguiguit.

Perpetual’s hero Omega finished with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds on 66.7% shooting from the field. Cyrus Nitura then added a near triple-double of 18 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists.

Nitura also had three steals and a block as the sophomore wing did everything for the Altas.

Jun Roque also had a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards, while Christian Pagaran added 14 markers of his own.

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The Altas have now won their fourth straight victory and climbed up to an 8-7 record, tying themselves alongside Emilio Aguinaldo College for sixth place in the standings.

They hope to keep their momentum going against another top contender, Mapua University Cardinals, on Wednesday at 1:30 PM.

Valdez was the leading scorer for Lyceum with 16 points, while John Barba had 14 points to follow. Shawn Umali, Gyle Montano, and Mclaude Guadana added 11 points apiece.

The Pirates dropped to 11-4 and lost control of their tie with Mapua for the first spot. They play San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags next on Friday at 1:30 PM.

The Scores:

Perpetual 81 Nitura 81, Pagaran 14, Roque 14, Omega 10, Razon 9, Abis 8, Boral 5, Gelsano 3, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Ferreras 0, Cuevas 0

Lyceum 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

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