By Jerome Lagunzad
Taking the route used by perennial champion San Beda College, Perpetual Help is also set to join the PBA D-League, with the Altas eager to prime themselves up early for the 94th NCAA seniors basketball tournament.
Still on a rebuilding process following the departure of prized Nigerian center Bright Akhuetie who transferred to University of the Philippines, the Altas are hoping to gain enough experience and exposure as they try to make up for lost ground after missing the NCAA Final Four round this year.
The Altas came up with just four wins in 18 matches and finished tied at eighth spot with the St. Benilde Blazers, something that’s way below the team’s expectations after pulling a victory away from making it to the NCAA finals last year.
“We’re joining the D-League to toughen the players and team as a whole and gain experience,” said Perpetual Help consultant Nosa Omorogbe, who’s expected to call the shots alongside Jimwell Gican.
The Altas might have followed the footsteps of the Red Lions, who swept the two-conference PBA D-League season this year on their way to defending their NCAA throne against the Lyceum Pirates via a two-game sweep in the finals.
The Pirates, who made heads turn after achieving an 18-game sweep of the elimination round, are also bent on joining the country’s top developmental league, according to fast-rising mentor Topex Robinson.
“We’re gonna prepare already. I think we’re gonna join the D-League as a team. It’s something that I’m excited about,” he said in a recent interview. “I know its gonna make us better with the experience there. Mga kuya naman ang mga kalaban namin. I know it’s gonna prepare us for Season 94.”
Also tipped to join the hunt in the coming D-League season that gets going in January next year are other NCAA schools such as Jose Rizal University and St. Benilde.