HomeHomeValdez takes Pirates to Final Four; Altas dump Bombers

Valdez takes Pirates to Final Four; Altas dump Bombers

Perpetual Help’s Rey Barcuma (middle) threads the interior Jose Rizal defense. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Perpetual Help’s Rey Barcuma (middle) threads the interior Jose Rizal defense. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Enoch Valdez stepped up big when the stakes were high for Lyceum, shooting 14 of his 30 points in the final frame on Sunday to key a 73-65 victory over San Sebastian as the Pirates punched a ticket in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time since 2019.

“The way he performed, that’s what we needed,” Lyceum coach Gilbert Malabanan said. “I am very proud of our players.”

Holding a 59-56 lead, Valdez, a former All-Star Game MVP, completed a three-point play that set the tone for the Lyceum breakaway as the Pirates rose to 11-5, while dealing the Golden Stags an eighth loss in 14 games.

Meanwhile, out of playoff contention as early as last week, Perpetual Help earlier in the day took the first step to what it says will be the best way to exit Season 98.

Stingy defense

Holding Jose Rizal University (JRU) to a paltry seven points in the opening frame and to 10 in the final quarter, the Altas dismantled the Heavy Bombers, 72-60, also at San Juan Arena as they stayed out of the absolute bottom of the standings at 7-9.

JRU, which burst into infamy after its player, John Amores, attacked several College of St. Benilde players in a truly ugly incident last week, dropped to 6-9.

“I told my players that in these last games, we have to get the job done. We got one today but there’s two more. I hope we get to continue it,” Perpetual coach Myk Saguiguit said.

The Altas slowly found their groove at the end of the third quarter to lead, 52-50, before clamping down on the Bombers in the fourth period.

Jeff Egan had 14 points and eight rebounds for Perpetual Help, which also drew 14 points from Carlo Ferreras and 13 and 12 points from Art Roque and Cedrick Abis, respectively.

Joshua Guiab had 16 points and nine boards in a losing effort for the Bombers. INQ

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