Thompson and Akhuetie have Altas’ title hopes shining bright

By Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 25, 2015 06:52 PM

MVP AND MVP. Reigning NCAA MVP Scottie Thompson and 2015 Filoil MVP Bright Akhuetie will front the Perpetual attack seeking to break through from their recent string of Final Four finishes.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 12-6, fourth, semifinalist

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Scottie Thompson, Gab Dagangon

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Bright Akhuetie, Prince Eze

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Harold Arboleda, Juneric Baloria, Justine Alano

Now clearly established as contenders, University of Perpetual Help have come out and said they have grown tired of simply being in the Final Four.

Gutom na gutom kami kasi lagi na lang Final Four. Papagtrabahuan talaga naming makapag-Finals,” team leader Scottie Thompson told ABS-CBN Sports.

On paper, the Altas actually look worse than last season with the exits of Juneric Baloria, Harold Arboleda, and Justine Alano who were three of their top four scorers. However, the only leading scorer still with the team also happens to be the reigning NCAA MVP in Thompson.

After emerging as college’s most versatile weapon by averaging 17.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.7 steals, the 21-year-old will now also have to assume the leadership mantle. Even so, it’s foolish to think that Thompson will focus more of his energy into offense to compensate for the loss of their top scorers as his game is predicated upon being a playmaker.

That doesn’t mean that the Las Pinas-based team will be lacking firepower as it will get to pair the NCAA MVP with a powerful and reliable scorer in 2015 Filoil Flying V Tournament MVP Bright Akhuetie. If the Nigerian is able to replicate his preseason performance when not one soul was able to stop him, then his dominance will be more than enough to take care of the loss in scoring.

Perpetual will have another reinforcement to bolster their chances even more as 6’11” Prince Eze is the traditional center coach Aric del Rosario always needed. “For the past three years, wala akong big man pero nakakaabot sa Final Four. Ngayong may big man na, edi mas kakayanin,” the legendary coach told ABS-CBN Sports.

A Thompson-Akhuetie-Eze trio does look nothing less than a contender, but del Rosario still needs at least one more name to step up and help in taking the Altas to where they want to be.

One name to watch would be Gab Dagangon who took over Thompson’s role in the preseason when the latter was on Gilas cadets duty. In the Altas’ quarterfinals loss to DLSU, the third-year player scored 23 points and led the fourth quarter rally that nearly forced overtime if not for Jason Perkins’ game-winner.

Perpetual starts their NCAA Season 91 campaign against Lyceum on June 30 at the San Juan Arena. The game will be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 at 2:00 PM and will also be streamed LIVE on ABS-CBN


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