UPHR inches closer to NCAA Final Four
October 2, 2014 1:36 am
MANILA, Oct. 1 — University of Perpetual Help rode on Earl Scottie Thompson's strong effort as it turned back College of St. Benilde, 65-62, on Wednesday night to inch closer to advancing to the Final Four in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Thompson, 21, came two assists away from churning out a rare triple-double performance with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lift the Altas to solo third with an 11-6 (win-loss) record.
More importantly, Perpetual Help moved a win away from clinching a playoff for a Final Four berth if it could hurdle an already-ran San Sebastian on Saturday.
"He carried us today (yesterday)," said Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario referring to his six-foot guard from Digos, Davao del Sur.
Thompson's all-around effort also kept him in the MVP statistical race, which will mean nothing if Perpetual Help will not make the semis since a player is disqualified in to win the plum if his team is eliminated.
If Thompson wins the highest individual award, he will be the first player from the Las Pinas-based school to do so since Jose Manalo won it 14 years back.
The Blazers slid from solo third to joint fourth with the idle Jose Rizal Bombers on 10-6 marks.
Thompson made things happen in the final three minutes where he was accountable for six of his team's last eight points.
Up by just a hairline, 57-56, Thompson drove, draw Alano twice for a basket and two free throws before he scored himself after Alano bullies his way for another bucket for an 8-2 exchange that gave the Altas a seven-point cushion.
Mark Romero hit two free throws and Jonathan Grey scored on a steal to cut it to just a 62-65 deficit.
But the Blazers couldn't score from there as the Altas tightened up the defensive screws to snatch the win. (PNA)