Kim Aurin took charge in the second half as Perpetual Help came away with a nerve-wracking 63-60 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College to catch the last bus to the play-in round in the NCAA Season 97 on Friday, April 29 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Photo from GMA NCAA

Aurin unloaded all of his 14 points in the final two quarters before the Altas held on to their defense in the waning seconds to repulse a late Generals rally and take the victory much to the delight of the Perpetual fans.

“Having mostly na players namin coming out from high school, tapos may mga retainee na kakaunti lang, it’s an achievement for Perpetual na unti unti yung proseso na gusto namin mangyari nagagawa namin. Masaya kaso medyo nakakaba kasi muntikan na naman kami nahabol na naman,” said first year head coach Myk Saguiguit.

The Altas round up the eliminations with a 4-5 record and good for the fifth spot of the standing, setting up a do-or-die clash against the Arellano Chiefs in the play-in round on Sunday. The winner of that match will face the loser of the game between the third and fourth seeds.

Mark Omega who was the catalyst of the Altas’ first half onslaught posted a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds while Cris Pagaran added 10 markers.

The Altas behind Omega, Pagaran and Razon built the biggest lead at 12 points in the first half.

The Generals though after struggling to find the mark in the first three quarters suddenly came alive in the payoff period behind the efforts of Kris Gurtiza and Ralph Robin.

Gurtiza paced the Generals with 18 points including the huge triple that cut the Altas lead down to just three with 1:01 left in the game. Robin dropped all of his 11 points in the second half while Allen Liwag added 12 markers.

With the Altas holding on to a nine-point lead inside the final five minutes, the Generals tried to mount a comeback triggered by the back-to-back hits from Nat Cosejo and JP Maguliano to come within four points, 61-57.

Aurin retaliated with a basket before Curtiza nailed that big triple that capped a swift 8-2 run.

The Generals forced a stop but came up dry in the final possessions. They also had the chance to tie the game and force an extra period with three ticks left but Gurtiza came up short in his last second three-point heave.

The Scores:

PERPETUAL 63 — Aurin 14, Omega 13, Pagaran 10, Razon 9, Egan 6, Barcuma 5, Cuevas 4, Martel 2, Sevilla 0, Abis 0.

EAC 60 — Gurtiza 18, Liwag 12, Robin 11, Maguliano 8, Cosejo 5, Ad. Doria 3, Luciano 2, Taywan 1, Quinal 0, Coda 0, Bunyi 0, Cadua 0.

Quarters: 18-10, 33-26, 48-44, 63-60.

Source: Manila Bulletin (