by Waylon Galvez
Games Today (The Arena, San Juan)
8 a.m. – Letran vs JRU (Jrs)
10 a.m. – Mapua vs San Sebastian (Jrs)
12 n.n. – Letran vs JRU (Srs)
2 p.m. – Mapua vs San Sebastian (Srs)
4 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs St. Benilde (Srs)
6 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs St. Benilde (Jrs)
University of Perpetual Help, a semifinalist last season, and two other teams shoot for a share of the lead with defending three-time champion San Beda University as action resumes in the NCAA basketball tournament today at The Arena in San Juan.
The Las Pinas-based Altas clash with unbeaten College of St. Benilde Blazers at 4 p.m., while the San Sebastian College Stags take on the Mapua Cardinals at 2 p.m.
Letran collides against winless Jose Rizal University in the first of three senior’s games at 12 noon, right after the two juniors matches pitting JRU and Letran at 8 a.m. and Mapua versus SSC at 10 a.m. Perpetual Help meets CSB in the third juniors’ game at 6 p.m.
Focus, however, is on Perpetual Help as it tries to follow up a thrilling 80-78 come-from-behind victory against Mapua behind the heroics of playmaker Edgar Charcos last Tuesday.
The 5-foot-8 Charcos scored 16 points, including 11 in the final 6:27 minutes as he outscored the opposition after the entire Cardinal side had nine points that gave Perpetual help its first victory in the post-Prince Eze era.
“It was a show of character for our team,” said Perpetual Help coach Frankie Lim. “That’s what I’ve been telling my players prior to the season, even if other teams look strong, we just have to continue playing and give our best every game.”
“I hope we continue doing that since we’re playing against CSB, which likewise won its first game,” added Lim, referring to the Blazers’ 69-66 win against the Generals of Emilio Aguinaldo College also last week at the same venue.
Aside from Charcos, Perpetual Help will also rely on other players, including Tonton Peralta, who finished with 20 points in their win against MIT, and Jielo Razon, who added 10 points.
On the other, San Sebastian mentor Egay Macaraya said it’s a challenge for them to maintain their good form following a huge 82-51 triumph opposite JRU to live up to the pre-tournament hype.
Letran, meantime, tries to follow up its first win this season after it clobbered season host Arellano University (81-72) last Thursday – a game where Jerrick Balanza fired a career high 31 points while Jeo Ambohot added 15 points and 11 rebounds.