MANILA -- After a shaky start to its NCAA Season 99 campaign, Perpetual Help is finally living up to its tag as a dark horse contender in the men's basketball tournament.
The Altas have won their last four games, with Cyrus Nitura playing a crucial role to help his team remain in the Final 4 race.
The sophomore cager steered the Altas to huge wins against two contenders in Lyceum and San Beda, as well as also-ran Arellano University. His efforts were enough to earn him the Collegiate Press Corps Player of the Week Award for the period of November 7-12.
Nitura averaged 11.67 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.67 assists, and 3.0 steals in the Altas' three-game winning streak. He edged teammates Jun Roque and Mark Omega, St. Benilde's Will Gozum, and Mapua's Clint Escamis for the honor presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
Perpetual now has an 8-7 record in the tournament, keeping alive their chances of qualifying to the Final 4 with three games left in their elimination round schedule.
Nitura started his charge against the Chiefs with 13 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals in an 81-74 win on November 7 before he collected four markers, eight boards, four dimes, one swat, and one block to help Perpetual stun the Red Lions, 61-57.
He capped it with another impressive stat line on Sunday, flirting with a triple-double of 18 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, three steals, and one block as the Altas stunned the Pirates behind the game-winning triple from Mark Omega.
"Wala akong kaalam-alam (na almost triple-double) na ako, talagang trabaho lang," he said.
Meanwhile, Perpetual head coach Myk Saguiguit is grateful that his team is finally living up to expectations.
"We're just happy kung ano 'yung nagagawa namin ngayon sa 99, we're making a lot of people happy. 'Yung season napapaganda namin kasi dati 'yung mga top four teams lang 'yung nandiyan eh," he said.
"Ngayon lumalabas na 'yung Perpetual and ang sarap ng feeling na naka-end kami ng streak."