Altas clip Stags to regain top spot

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EARL Scottie Thompson delivered another stellar performance powering University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas’ 84-70 victory over the San Sebastian College Stags on Friday in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City. The Altas, now with a 4-0 record is leading solo.

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The 6’1 Thompson of Digos, Davao del Sur, finished with 21 points on top of 15 rebounds plus 14 assists; his second triple-double in the season. Nigerian import Bright Osagie Akhuetie finished with 20 points and 23 rebounds for Perpetual.

“It’s still a long way to go. We have still many things to improve if we have to sustain our winning form. What we really need to do is practice hard and others have also to step up so that we can have a deeper rotation,” said Thompson, the reigning Most Valuable Player and a standout of the national team that won the gold medal in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.

The Altas are now half-a-game ahead over second-front running Letran Knights carrying a 3-0 card.

The Stags under coach Rodney Santos whose record dropped to 1-2, are now in a three-way tie with the Mapua Cardinals and the Lyceum Pirates from sixth to the eighth spot. The Cardinals were still playing against the Arellano Chiefs at presstime.

“They’re the heart and soul of this team,” said Altas coach Aric del Rosario referring to Thompson and Akhuetie.

Perpetual’s best finish so far was a runner-up during the time of Bong Hawkins and Eric Quiday in 1989 and in 2004, when they lost to the Philippine Christian University Dolphins in the finals.

“This is the best start of the team since I took over as coach,” said Del Rosario, who steered the Altas to three Final Four appearances already.

Ryan Costelo led the Stags with 18 points; Bradwyn Guinto and Alvin Capobres posted 13 points apiece while Jon Kervin Ortuoste had nine.

In the other game, the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers subdued the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals 67-47 to remain in the fifth spot with 2-2 record.

Abdoul Poutouchi finished with 15 points while Abdul Razak AbdulWahab of Ghana posted just five points but completely dominated the slot with 14 rebounds, three block shots and two steals. John Potejos contributed nine points for the Heavy Bombers.

The Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals under coach Andy de Guzman are yet to post a victory after four games.

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