Generals quit being pushovers, shock previously unbeaten Pirates in OT

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Generals quit being pushovers, shock previously unbeaten Pirates in OT

Games Friday
(Filoil EcoOil Arena)

2 p.m. – SSC-R vs UPHSD
4 p.m. – AU vs EAC

MANILA, Philippines – The Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals are whipping boys no more.

A season removed from placing 10th and dead last, EAC shocked league leader Lyceum of the Philippines University, 83-76, in overtime Wednesday that put it in the race for a dream Final Four berth in 99th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Arena.

It was the third win for the Generals in as many losses, which matched their win total from a forgettable performance a year back.

The result was made extra special by the fact that it came at the expense of the league’s current best team, LPU, which absorbed its first setback of the season after zooming to a red-hot 6-0 start.

And it was coincidental that EAC’s new coach Jerson Cabiltes was at the center of its renaissance. 

Now, the Generals have moved back to the upper half of the standings — fifth — with a crack at setting a date with history by making the Final Four for the first time since joining the league 14 years ago.

For Cabiltes, defense did it after throwing the defensive anvil on the Pirates in overtime, where the latter was held to just two points.

King Gurtiza reigned supreme with 18 points, including a basket that tied the score at 74 and eventually forcing the extra five-minute period.

It was all EAC from there.

LPU’s defeat was hastened by the absence of one of its top players — bruiser Shawn Umali.

Umali was suspended for a pair of infractions in their last game and could have made the difference late.

John Bravo did his best to plug in the gaping hole left by Umali and dropped a team-high 18 points, seven of which came in the fourth quarter of regulation when they mounted a spirited fightback that saw them turning a nine-point third period deficit into a 74-72 lead with over a minute to go.

But Gurtiza erased it with a layup, forcing the extra time, where EAC’s defense held sway in shutting down LPU. 

The scores:

EAC 83 – Gurtiza 18, Cosejo 14, Robin 13, Quinal 11, Maguliano 8, Luciano 6, Cosa 5, Ochavo 2, Bacud 2, Tolentino 2, Umpad 2, Angeles 0, Balowa 0

LPU 76 – Bravo 18, Guadana 13, Valdez 12, Barba 11, Cunanan 10, Aviles 4, Verzosa 3, Montano 2, Penafiel 2, Omandac 1, Villegas 0

Quarterscores: 18-17; 37-33; 62-53; 74-74 (OT); 83-76

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