THE University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas are aiming to win their first title when the 91st season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association unfolds on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Altas, now under Coach Aric del Rosario, are yet to win a crown since it joined in the oldest collegiate league in the country in 1984. Perpetual is hopeful to end its long title drought with the acquisition of two Nigerian imports Bright Akhuetie and Prince Eze. Del Rosario said that Akhuetie and Eze along with reigning MVP and Gilas cadet team standout Earl Scottie Thompson will boost their chance of stopping San Beda’s six-peat feat bid. The rookie Akhuetie is 6’8, while Eze is 6’11, who can dominate the slot.
Akhuetie, Eze and Thompson made waves for the Altas in the recently concluded Fr. Martin Cup and they also made it to the quarterfinals of the Filoil Flying V pre-season tournament.
Thompson, a member of the Gilas team, which won the gold medal in the men’s basketball of the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, wants his team to win an NCAA championship in his last year of playing in the league.
“I hope to help Perpetual Help wins an NCAA championship before I graduate and hopefully, play in the PBA,” said Thompson, a proud son of Digos, Davao del Sur, in Filipino.
Del Rosario thinks that everything will hinge on Akhuetie and Eze, “I expect more from them. They will be the anchor of this team, we need them to be rock-solid especially in defense.”
The Altas, who lost key players Juneric Baloria, Harold Arboleda, Justin Alano and Joel Jolangcob, will also depend on Gab Dagangon, Gerald Dizon, Ric Gallardo, Kevin Oliveria and new starting point guard Crispin Elopre 2nd in their quest for the crown.
“We will miss a lot of players from last year so I expect the other guys to step up more,” said del Rosario.