Oct. 29, 2013
FilOil-Flying V Arena
Who’s afraid of Ryusei Koga?
Of course, it’s the guy who filmed a basketball video (is it last summer, or is it really last September?) and told everyone that the San Beda Red Lions are in trouble because of this.
He’s got hell to pay if its proven that such claims aren’t for real.
But whoever is afraid of Ryusei Koga should be afraid of the San Beda Red Lions when the Final Four semifinals comes around in the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Associaion (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament.
Fearing not just the roar, but the intensity of the Red Lions’ game is something that members of the University of Perpetual Help Altas are already feeling.
Especially when one does not give his best after the San Sebastian Stags came away with an 81-71 victory in their playoff for Final Four seats with the Altas at The Arena in San Juan.
But the attitude to bounce back is already in the hearts and minds of Juneric Baloria and Harold Arboleda, two teammates who felt that they did not deliver for the Altas when it mattered most.
Juneric Baloria in action. Left: Baloria responds to a call by the referee. Right: Baloria tries to keep the ball away from Mapua’s Joseph Eriobu . Looking on, seated from left are Christian Jacinto of Manila Bulletin, Mia Domingo (NCAA.org.ph and Anton Tantoco of The Lance). photos courtesy of Jan Dizon, NCAA.org.ph
“Wala ako sa kondisyon. Kaya, ayun, kailangan ko ng extra work sa sarili ko para mahabol ko iyung condition na dapat ay para sa Final Four,” said Baloria, who is Rookie of the Year candidate this season.
Baloria is the league’s leading scorer with his averages of 19.5 points.
But on Monday, Oct. 29, Baloria was barely a semblance of his usual self.
He scored what could probably be his worst game of the season, and probably Arboleda as well when he made three points.
(Harold Arboleda in action. photo courtesy of Jan Dizon, NCAA.org.ph).
This happened when he missed all his 11 attempts and eked out only two points from the charity lane.
With Baloria unable to do his thing, Stags turned another rookie, Jaymar Perez, in the last 77 minutes as they put away the University of Perpetual Help Altas, 81-71.
The six-foot-two Perez, who averages 14.69 points per game, led with 20 points and seven rebounds.
He scored on a layup with 1:17 left to give the Stags a decisive 74-71 advantage.
His efforts put them right on track for the third seeding in the Final Four.
After teammate Gio Vergara split his charity, Perez struck with a freebie in the last 58 seconds off Harold Arboleda’s fifth foul.
This handed them a 76-71 lead in the ensuing play.
The Stags, who have beaten the Altas thrice this season, advanced to the Final Four, with 12 wins and seven losses, the no. 3 seeding, and a clash with with second ranked Letran Knights for a finals berth on Nov. 7.
“Every game that we play right now is a blessing for us. I always tell these players, that its always been the forgotten guys, the no-namers that were never really given a chance,” said Stags coach Topex Robinson.
He added that their win against the Altas is no time for celebrations for the Stags because they will been to improve even more, considering that they are facing the Knights in the Final Four.
Cameroonian Nosa Omorgobe, coming off an ankle injury, played for the first time in three games, and led with 21 points.
But he was limited to four as Altas rallied back from a 46-55 deficit in the third.
Nevertheless, it was his layup in the last 5:02 which allowed the Perps to catch up and tie the match, 60-all.
They then move ahead, 63-62, off a triple from Joel Jolangcob.
The Stags then got back into the lead, 70-68, off Vergara’s triple in the final 2:32.
What’s eating up Baloria
Two games of missing practice has led to Baloria’s woeful performance last Monday,
He admits not having practicing last Saturday and Sunday.
This is because he flew to Lanao del Norte to support the campaign of his father, who ran for a final term as barangay captain.
Unfortunately for him, he actions did not pay off .
Baloria’s father lost to a rival by a mere 23 votes last Monday.
– Baloria’s previous best
Baloria scored the highest during the season, making 33 points last July 8 when the Altas took a 77-78 loss to the Stags.
When they prevailed over the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 64-61, last Sept. 16, he made the second highest with 32.
The league’s third highest scorer is Joseph Eriobu of Mapua when he hit 30 points for his team when they won over the Stags, 104-99, last July 1.
“Umuwi ako. Dalawang araw ako di nag-ensayo, galit si coach (Aric del Rosario),” added Baloria.
When he returns to action next week, expect Baloria to be in a matchup either with Koga or Baser Amer.
Amer can average 14.43 points while Koga is good for 7.64 points.
On the other hand, Arboleda, who can deliver 12.28 points and 11 rebounds per game, hopes that he can be able to get over his misfortunes with the Altas.
He was limited to just three points the last time around.
San Sebastian 81 – Perez 20, Guinto 15, Dela Cruz 14, Ortuoste 11, Vergara 10, De Vera 4, Aquino 3, Balucanag 2, Tano 2, Rebollos 0, Gusi 0, Trinidad 0.
Perpetual 71 – Omorogbe 21, Alano 14, Thompson 13, Jolangcob 8, Oliveria 4, Ylagan 4, Arboleda 3, Elopre 2, Baloria 2, Dizon 0, Bantayan 0, Lucente 0.
Quarterscores: 14-14; 36-32; 55-46; 81-71.