Nigerian Akhuetie Sparks New-Looked, Thompson-less Perpetual Altas Over Letran Knights

Two quarters were all it took for the new-faced University of Perpetual Help Altas to tune the sync and timing coach Aric del Rosario was looking for as they clipped the Letran Knights, 59-47, on Wednesday in the 2015 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the San Juan Arena.

Towering Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie lashed 15 points, one of which came from a jaw-dropping snappy dunk, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks to lift the Thompson-less Altas second half rampage.

Chris Elopre and Gerald Dizon backed up the romp with 11 points apiece for the Perpetual Help Altas, who played without NCAA MVP Scottie Thompson as he currently plays for the Philippine national team in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship in Singapore.

Moreover, the Las PiƱas-based squad has a daunting challenge to fill in for the departure of veteran key players Harold Arboleda and Juneric Baloria, who now both play for PBA’s NLEX Road Warriors.

Though bannered by new and fresh faces, the Perpetual squad managed to evade a see-sawing first half and looked to elimate a 5-point Letran lead en route to the third canto.

Despite Letran Knights’ suffocating defense, Alkhuetie cleared the way for his comrades to unload a 16-6 run ahead of Letran.

Things slowed down midway through the finishing kick as both squads reeled from turnovers and traveling violations, yet the Perpetual Altas shook it off and never looked back to seal the 12-points winning romp.

Perpetual coach Aric del Rosario commended his wards for stepping up to a whole new level, now that most of the team are newbies.

“Wala kami sa timing nung first half, pero buti na lang nakuha na nila nung second half. Kita mo naman, puro bago pa halos sila”, said Del Rosario.

When asked about how proud he is to two of his former players Arboleda and Baloria who both have stints in the PBA, “Ah siyempre proud tayo, at motivation din yan sa mga naiwan. Kita mo nga oh nandun si Baloria nanonood, wala si Arboleda dahil may iniindang injury sa paa”, the legendary Perpetual coach added.

Meanwhile, the Letran Knights were paced by guard Mark Cruz with 15 points for the Knights, followed by Rey Nambatac with 8 markers.