University of Perpetual Help System Dalta seeks to ride on the crest of its giant-sized win over San Beda College the last time, as the two collide one final time for the other championship berth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Facing elimination, the fourth-ranked Altas fought back and pulled the rug from under the top-seeded Lions, 87-83, in the first Final Four game Friday to set up a knockout duel at 3:45 p.m. today with the winner clashing with the Arellano University Chiefs in the best-of-three finals.
Arellano advanced, thanks to a 92-80 triumph over Mapua Institute of Technology in the other Final Four match on Friday.
The win ended Perpetual Help’s string of Final Four loses to San Beda, which beat the former from 2012 to 2014.
The Altas also handed the Lions their first Final Four defeat since the latter fell to the Mapua Cardinals, 51-53, eight seasons back before prevailing in the next game to the advance to the finals.
The Altas will also be gunning to emerge the first No. 4 seed to ever slay a No. 1 seeded team since the Final Four format was introduced in 1998 if they go on to complete the shock win over the Lions, the top-seeded team for the 11th straight season.
A victory by the Altas in their 4 p.m. encounter will seal them their first finals appearance since making it that far eight years ago only to fall to the Philippine Christian University Dolphins, the eventual champions, that deprived the former of their very first ever NCAA crown.
For the record, it was also on that same year when Perpetual Help hurdled San Beda in the Final Four to barge into the finals.
“We’ve come this far so we’ll definitely go for it,” said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican in Filipino.
San Beda, however, isn’t about to fade into the night as it will try to extend the tradition of never missing the finals in the last decade.
And No. 11 could be coming.
“Expect us to come back stronger and better,” said Jarin.
In juniors’ action, San Beda and Arellano collide one last time as the two tangle at 1 p.m. with the victor forging a best-of-three title duel with Mapua.
The Braves downed the Cubs, 89-84, to arrange the sudden death.
A victory by Arellano will seal it its second finals appearance in the last three years while depriving San Beda, the reigning seven-peat titlist, an eighth championship appearance.
The Robins booked the first finals seat by blasting the La Salle-Greenhills Junior Blazers, 88-81.