MANILA, Philippines – Powered by a dominant performance by Prince Eze, University of Perpetual Help overwhelmed Jose Rizal University (JRU), 88-72, in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on Monday at the Pasig Sports Center.
Eze had one of the most impressive games ever in the D-League as he fired 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting, grabbed 20 rebounds, and blocked 11 shots to lead the Altas to the upset win.
The Nigerian center is only the fifth player in D-League history to notch a triple-double, following Ray Parks, Mike Tolomia, Kent Salado, and Jeron Teng.
"We're getting better every game. 'Yun ang gusto ko makita, improvement sa practices namin. Maganda rin 'yung dinadala ni Prince sa team," said Perpetual Help coach Frankie Lim.
The Altas opened the game on an 11-1 run, before a brief surge led by Jeckster Apinan allowed JRU to seize a 25-19 lead. But Eze responded with back-to-back buckets that sparked a 14-2 run, putting Perpetual in control of the game once more.
Perpetual took a 41-29 lead at the half, then led by as much as 20 points late in the final quarter.
The Altas shot 52% from the field and tallied 31 assists as they handed the Heavy Bombers their first loss of the conference. It could have been an even bigger victory for Perpetual, had they shot better from the line. The Altas made only three of their 19 charities in the game.
John Rey Villanueva contributed 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists for Perpetual, while AJ Coronel finished with 11 points and six boards.
The Altas improved to 2-1 in the conference.
Leonardo Esguerra had 21 points to lead the Heavy Bombers, but they made only 36% of their shots and committed 21 turnovers, fueling the Altas' transition offense.
The Heavy Bombers dropped to 2-1, to join Perpetual and four other teams in the middle of the pack.
PERPETUAL 88 — Eze 24, Villanueva 18, Coronel 11, Aurin 9, Jimenez 9, Peralta 8, Charcos 7, Antonio 2, Mangalino 0, Tamayo 0.
JRU 72 — Esguerra 21, Apinan 14, Mendoza 11, Grospe 6, Perez 6, Yu 6, Dela Virgen 5, Bordon 2, Mvogo 1, Padua 0, Pontejos 0, Tayongtong 0.
Quarter scores: 17-11, 41-29, 62-53, 88-72.
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