30 June, 2016,
FilOil-Flying V Arena,
The University of Perpetual Help Junior Altas celebrated their first win in season 92 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Junior Basketball Tournament will three talented newbies, and two new coaches.
Their victory came at the expense of the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers, 66-52, last June 30, Wednesday at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Erol Bongay, Jielo Razon and Jasper Cuevas scored in double digits for the Altas, who improved their win-loss record to 1-1.
Coach Barry Tobias, a lawyer by profession, was elated by the team’s hard-earned feat with assistant coach Myke Saguiguit, who coaches the Olivarez College Sea Lions for many years.
For them, the team’s feat is considered a milestone since they took over from where Lester del Rosario.
(Notes: Lester left with father, Altas coach Aric del Rosario, last season after the senior squad missed a ticket to the Final Four. On the other hand, interim mentor Jonas Kintanar is with the Altas coaching staff after he kept the Junior Altas in shape during their off-season preps).
(assistant coach Myke Saguigit watches as Junior Altas cager Jielo Razon gets screened by JRU’s Jericho Guzman).
The 6’2 Bongay, who showed what he can do last month in the 22nd Fr. Martin Cup Summer Tournament, led with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Razon hit 11 points, and helped control the boards with 13 rebounds.
Jasper Cuevas ended his 29-minute stint on the floor with 10 points.
The Altas, who retained only four members of the team in season 91, had a disappointing campaign last year, finishing last with 1 win against 17 losses.
(Justine Disquitado(8) watches as Jielo Razon shoots a freebie).
Their first win came after 15 straight setbacks, and after they beat the San Sebastian Staglets, 60-55.
But, a win this early in the season, is expected to boost the confidence of the Junior Altas, according to Tobias.
Razon, one of two good recruits from Las Pinas, and Cuevas got the Junior Altas off to a good start with a 6-0 run.
But the Light Bombers, led by Toby Agustin and Koby Caballero with 11 points, fought back.
They forced four deadlocks and seven lead changes before the Junior Altas were finally able to pull away.
Their chance came in the last 5:27 of the second period, following Justine Disquitado’s drive off Razon’s assist.
This handed the Junior Altas a 22-21 lead, and the touched off a decisive 11-2 blast.
Bongay made five points during that run, and the Junior Altas went on take the upperhand, 31-23, at halftime.
“It feels good to get the monkey off our backs. We won only one game. But we (feel) we have exceeded our performance last year,” said Tobias.
(Coach Barry Tobias)
Bongay’s penetration with 9:42 to go in the third saw the Junior Altas increasing their lead to 10, 33-23.
JRU were able to come back on a 9-2 spurt behind a triple from Ron Camua and Timothy Baliad, 32-35, in the last 6:41.
But a 20-5 counterattack started by Cuevas and Nick Rocero handed the Junior Altas a 17-point spread at the end of the third, 55-38.
They eventually took their biggest edge at 19, behind Bongay’s jumper in the last 2:23 of the fourth, 60-41.
“I’m happy with this first ever win in the NCAA. So happy with the way the boys are playing,” said Saguiguit.
The Junior Altas utilized the triangle offense all throughout.
Tobias, who came from Arellano University last year, applied the coaching philosophies of AU Chiefs coach Jerry Codinera.
On his own, Saguiguit is student of the triangle offense also, and has been given the license by Tobias to take over anytime and use his own rotation to get things done.
“Pareho kami ng style. Iba lang ang rotation namin,” said Tobias.
The Junior Altas earlier got off to a bad start when they took an 88-105 loss to the Arellano University Braves in the opener.
In other games, the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs, the Arellano University Braves and the Mapua Red Robins pulled off contrasting victories to post their second straight triumphs.
The Red Cubs, with Eduardo Velasquez shooting 17 points, struggled with their inside game, and banked on their outside shooting in the third period to get past the Lyceum Junior Pirates, 97-88.
Romuel Junsay and Jasper Salenga delivered 24 and 23 points to lead the Mapua Red Robins to a 94-78 swamping of the La Salle Greenhills Greenies.
The Braves, drawing 13 points from Lars Sunga, stopped the San Sebastian Staglets, 86-66.
The Letran Squires, with Rhayniel David scoring 21 points, won over over EAC-ICA, 74-67.
The Junior Altas shares the same 1-1 card with the LSGH Greenies, the Squires, and the Junior Pirates.