University of Perpetual Help System Dalta came out victorious against a gutsy Colegio de San Juan de Letran in game two of the NCAA Season 99 juniors basketball, 91-90, afternoon on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

The action-packed game started even before the jump ball as Regie Ayon and Rex Villanueva were called for technical fouls due to taunting.

The Junior Altas exploded a 9-2 run to open the first period before the Letran Squires were able to recover and made their own 10-4 run and closed the quarter leading by six, 34-28.

Letran’s lead ballooned to 19 after Daniel Padilla torched a triple from the corner with three minutes to play in the second period before heading to the dugout with a nine-point lead, 59-50.

Padilla led the Squires in the first half who already had 16 points at the break.

In the third and fourth quarter, Perpetual managed to climb back twice from the deficit and keep themselves on striking distance but Letran could not be denied with their offensive onslaught.

“Sobrang bigat talaga, that’s why I’m like this emotionally kasi di ko nga alam eh, sabi ko, Lord ikaw na bahala sa amin, ang bigat ng Letran,” Perpetual coach Joph Cleopas told GMA Regional TV News after the match.

Clutch baskets from Jan Pagulayan and NCAA Season 99 Most Valuable Player Amiel Acido coming alive in the final minutes of the fourth and final canto after burning a big triple with 53.8 seconds left to play gave Perpetual the chance to take the lead.

“Sinabi namin sa isa’t isa sumandal lang kami sa sistema, walang susuko hanggang di pa natatapos yung oras, laban lang hangga’t walang nananalo,” Pagulayan said.

Pagulayan was called for a technical foul in the next position but Alex Gazzingan failed to convert the charity stripes. Gazzingan then missed a contested long bomb from the left wing.

Letran still had the chance to win the game when Syrex Silorio was fouled by Mark Gojo Cruz after taking a floater but missed both free throws.

Pagulayan picked up the loose ball and Perpetual was able to survive to force a title-deciding game three.

“No words to say, we’re just blessed today and we worked hard,” Cleopas said on their hard earned win against Letran.

Pagulayan, who led Perpetual in scoring in game 1, led both teams in scoring in the second game with 23 points along with 10 rebounds while Acido also added 19 markers coming off the bench.

“Need po naming lahat mag-step-up hindi lang po si Amiel [Acido], hindi lang si Mark [Gojo Cruz], kailangan as a team mag step-up… kailangan lahat umiskor, dumipensa,” Pagulayan said.

The Scores:

Perpetual 91 - Pagulayan 23, Acido 19, Gojo Cruz 16, Daep 13, Diaz 5, Borja 5, Valencia 3, Callangan 3, Baldoria 2, Roluna 2

Letran 90 - Silorio 20, Diamante 18, Padilla 17, Manalili 12, Baliling 11, Gazzingan 5, Navarro 3, Cruz 2, Golez 2

Quarterscores: 28-34; 50-59; 73-75; 91-90