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Eze loses bid for MVP plum

Lyceum's Jesper Ayaay (left) and CJ Perez guard Perpetual's Prince Eze (center). (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Lyceum’s Jesper Ayaay (left) and CJ Perez guard Perpetual’s Prince Eze (center). (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

By Jerome Lagunzad

There is no other Perpetual Help cager who is dealing with more pain following the Altas’ failure to reach the Final Four round in the 93rd NCAA seniors basketball tournament than big man Prince Eze.

The 6-foot-11 Nigerian kissed his hopes of clinching the highest individual plum goodbye on Tuesday after Perpetual Help got eliminated by defending champion San Beda for the second straight year behind a 55-50 decision.

An existing league rule states that an eventual season MVP winner should come among the four teams which can make it to the semifinals, meaning Eze, as dominant as he’s been all season long, is already out of contention as Perpetual Help dropped to a woeful 4-10 mark.

However, the Altas center, who is averaging 17.2 rebounds and 2.57 blocks – both league-highs – aside from 15.5 points per match, remains in the running for this year’s Mythical Team if and when he won’t get suspended in their last four games.

Eze’s sorry loss could turn out to be a big gain for several MVP candidates, including Lyceum’s prized duo of Cameroonian Mike Nzeusseu and prolific guard CJ Perez who finished second and third respectively in the MVP race after the opening round.

The 6-foot-7 Nzeusseu is good for 10.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while the 6-foot-1 Perez is averaging 18.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in the course of the Pirates’ unstoppable drive after 15 matches.

Also in the hunt is defending champion San Beda’s do-it-all forward Javee Mocon who is accounting for 12.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists while leading the Red Lions to a 14-1 record so far.

Letran star Rey Nambatac could also sneak his way in courtesy of his solid output of 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while Emilio Aguinaldo College standout Sidney Onwubere continues to make a case for himself with 15.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.