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Altas seek revenge vs Lions

By: Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(Perpetual Help gym)
2 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs San Beda (J)
4 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs San Beda (S)

Powerhouse San Beda has Perpetual Help’s number for the longest time, with the Red Lions having ousted the Altas in four of the last five editions of the Final Four round in the NCAA seniors basketball tourney.

Whether the Altas can gain some measure of revenge will be known today when they serve as gracious hosts – and fired-up rivals at the same time – to the roaring Red Lions in the latest offering of the “NCAA on Tour” at their own floor in Las Piñas City.

Tip off is at 4 o’clock, with Perpetual Help out to pick up from where it left off in an impressive 68-59 victory over last year’s losing finalist Arellano U last Tuesday and pull itself closer to the “Magic Four.”

“Hindi naman kami basta-basta magpapatalo especially sa homecourt namin. Nasa utak namin is to execute well offensively and play hard defensively,” said Altas coach Jimwell Gican.

“Alam naman namin na malakas ‘yang San Beda. Pero if we will play hard and believe na mananalo kami tapos may (homecourt) advantage pa kami, kaya ‘yan. Basketball lang naman ‘yan. ‘Pag may dalang kutsilyo ‘yan, hindi na kami lalaban diyan,” he added, tongue in cheek.

All eyes will be on the “African showdown” between Nigerian center Prince Eze of Perpetual Help and his San Beda’s counterpart, Cameroonian Donald Tankoua, who is fast recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury he sustained last year.

“I’m still doing my therapy and I think Im just 90 percent,” said the 6-foot-7 Tankoua, who showed flashed of his dominance in their 66-55 win – its fifth straight overall – against Mapua last Friday, pumping in 11 points and 16 rebounds – both personal season-highs.

However, Tankoua will have his hands full against the taller Eze, who is thriving on his bigger role following the departure of compatriot Bright Akhuetie in the off-season to join University of the Philippines in the UAAP.