Monday, 8 August 2011 160 Comments
AFTER sharing the basement with the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta last season, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals had no qualms defeating the Altas to continue their push forward.
EAC leaned on its balanced attack as five players scored in double figures to overpower the host Altas, 71-58 for their third win in seven tries in the 87th season of the NCAA last August 8 at the Arena in San Juan.
With the win, the Generals became the first team to exceed their victory total from 2010. They also played themselves into a tie with idle College of Saint Benilde for fifth place with identical 3-4 records, a tantalizing half-game away from fourth, occupied by the 4-4 Lyceum Pirates. “Gusto namin to’ [the position they're in] kasi everybody’s ballgame pa rin to eh, lahat may chansa pa rin,” said EAC head coach Gerry Esplana, who took over the coaching reins of the team late last season. “Yung chance namin nasa aming mga kamay. Hindi kami yung tipo na magdadasal na sana matalo si ganun, manalo si ganun. Eto, kung gusto namin mag-improve, nasa kamay namin yung last two games sa first round.”
The Generals got out to a 19-14 first quarter lead thanks to eight points by Jan Jamon before the Altas looked to strike back quickly, getting to within a point on a triple by Jaycee Asuncion, 20-19, barely two minutes into the second quarter. EAC would have none of it, though, holding Perpetual Help to just three more field goals the entire quarter and doubling their scoring from that point on, 14 to 7, to enter the halftime break with a 34-26 advantage.
Perpetual Help made its biggest rally attempt in the third quarter after Harold Arboleda strung up five straight points and Jett Vidal’s layup in transition knotted things up at 41-all, 4:36 remaining in the third period. Threatened, but not shaken, a Franz Chiong jumper and single free throws by Igee King and Joshua Torralba helped make it 47-43, heading into the final ten minutes of the game.
This time, the Generals struck first, jumping out to a 12-2 run that held the Altas to just one field goal in the canto’s first six minutes to go up 59-45. The drought was snapped only after Chris Elopre made good use of EAC’s foul situation to get to the line for two charities. Despite making both, the gap was still too large for Perpetual Help’s offense to close, especially with ace gunner Vidal suffering from a horrible shooting night. A transition score by by Asuncion and a trey by Arboleda got the Altas to 11 points, 66-55 with 1:14 left to go. Esplana still made sure to whistle for time, and out of the break, Chiong drove and drew a foul from Vidal, clinching the game from the line with his two charities.
Despite three straight loses to some powerhouse teams, Esplana still felt that his team could make a splash, telling them “It’s not yet time to push the panic button. Puwede pa yan.” The boys clearly responded, with Torralba leading the way with 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Jamon added 13, while Claude Cubo scored 11 and hauled down a team-high nine rebounds. Russel Yaya and King added 11 and 10, respectively. The team still does commit an abundance of turnovers, a point of emphasis for Esplana, as they finished with 18 today. But, they forced Perpetual Help into one more more error than they committed, and scored more transition points, 19 to 15.
Allen led the Altas with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Elopre and Arboleda both added eight each, while Vidal made just one field goal in nine attempts, finishing with six points.
Now armed with a 3-4 record, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals will face the Letran Knights on August 12, Friday, while the 1-6 Altas hope to earn their second win against the erratic Mapúa Cardinals next week, August 15.
EAC 71 – Torralba 15, Jamon 13, Cubo 11, Yaya 11, King 10, Chiong 7, Vargas 2, Sanchez 2, Paguia 0, Diolanto 0
Perpetual Help 58 – Allen 12, Elopre 8, Arboleda 8, Asuncion 7, Vidal 6, Sumera 6, Paulino 5, Sison 3, Thompson 2, Tonggal 1, Parico 0
Quarter scoring: 19-14, 34-26, 47-43, 71-58