LAST year’s semifinalist University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas through the prowess of veterans Earl Scottie Thompson and Prince Eze trounced the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates, 70-61, on Tuesday in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
After a slow first quarter, reigning Most Valuable Player Thompson led the Altas’ fiery offense and grabbed the lead for good, 59-57, with still 4:36 remaining.
Thompson, a member of the Philippine national team that won the gold medal in the men’s basketball of the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore powered a blazing 13-4 run by the Altas down-the-stretch to pull off with the big win. Perpetual is now with five-time titlist San Beda College Red Lions and Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers at the top of the standings. All three teams are carrying identical 1-0 records.
“Unlike in the SEA Games where I was just a role player, but here I have to play hard and carry my team to victory. I was not really thinking of individual awards, all I want is to win the championship for my school,” said Thompson.
Thompson was supported by Eze that posted a high 21 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Altas. The 6’1 Thompson finished with 12 points (seven in the fourth quarter) on top of 12 rebounds.
“In the first quarter, I was in foul trouble, that’s why I started slow. Then coach Aric del Rosario told me just to be cool and play my usual game. So I was very patient until I began hitting those crucial shots,” added Thompson.
It was a sorry loss for the Pirates, who were leading early in the game but failed to sustain the momentum when faced by Thompson’s aggressive play.
The Pirates took 16-9 lead in the opening canto through Wilson Baltazar’s back-to-back triples.