University of Perpetual Help System DALTA banked on AJ Coronel’s prowess in crunch time to stave off Mapua’s gritty challenge, 63-60, on Thursday in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 93 men’s basketball tournament at the Mapua gym in Intramuros, Manila.
The win snapped the Altas’ two-game losing skid.
Coronel scored on a putback and hit a crucial trey to give the visiting Perpetual a 60-56 cushion with 1:22 left in the game.
The Altas then took advantage of Keith Pido’s defensive stop on Andrew Estella as Perpetual kept a 62-60 lead.
Nigerian center Prince Eze, who tallied 11 points and 21 rebounds, made one of his two free throws in the dying seconds to peg the final count and Estella’s potential game-tying triple rimmed out as time expired.
GJ Ylagan led Perpetual with 13 points, while Daryl Singontiko and Coronel contributed 10 points apiece.
The Altas built a 49-40 lead entering the last quarter before allowing the Cardinals to seize the edge, 58-57, under the three-minute mark. But Coronel rescued Perpetual from the jaws of defeat by hitting five important points denying Mapua of a comeback win.
The Cardinals’ win-loss record fell to 1-2.
Meanwhile, Will Gozum and Warren Bonifacio led defending champion Mapua-Malayan to a 94-74 win over Perpetual Help in the juniors division match.
Gozum came through with a game-high 16 points, while Bonifacio had a double-double of 15 points and 21 rebounds as the Red Robins joined College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills at the top spot with a clean 3-0 win-loss record.
Jielo Razon scored 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Junior Altas, who dropped to 1-2.