LYCEUM of the Philippines University Pirates at the top of Season 98 — NCAA/SYNERGY/GMA

Games Tomorrow
(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
12 p.m. — Mapua vs JRU
3 p.m. — Letran vs San Beda

ENOCH Valdez came through with a fourth quarter performance to remember as he willed Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) to a come-from-behind 82-77 victory over University of Perpetual Help yesterday to stay on top in the 98th NCAA basketball tournament.

Misfiring and bumbling in the first three quarters, Mr. Valdez stayed resilient and unleashed 11 of his 13 points in the final period to help the Pirates erase a 66-56 deficit and transform it to their fourth win in five starts.

The athletic, 6-2 wingman from Pangasinan also starred in LPU’s shock 89-81 triumph over San Beda last Sept. 17 when he dropped a solid 17-point, eight-rebound effort.

And Mr. Valdez has just recovered from a shoulder injury a season ago.

“It was a team effort, I just helped my team win,” said Mr. Valdez.

The Altas appeared headed to lock this one up after they soared to a 66-56 advantage on a booming left wing triple by Kim Aurin early in the final canto.

It turned out to be their last as Mr. Valdez came out of nowhere to deliver the decisive blows.

UPHSD slipped to 2-3.

Meanwhile, NCAA basketball  commissioner Tonichi Pujante slapped a one-game suspension on Letran’s Brent Paraiso and Louie Sangalang for their unsportsmanlike behavior in their 67-62 win over Mapua Tuesday.

Mr. Paraiso was sacked due to his dangerous flagrant foul that hit Mapua’s Adrian Nocum’s nape while Mr. Sangalang got the boot for incurring two technical fouls for taunting.

The two are expected to serve it in the Knights’ showdown with their bitter rivals — the San Beda Lions — today.

“I strongly denounce violence of any form in and outside the playing court,” said Mr. Pujante. — Joey Villar

The Scores:

LPU 82 — Valdez 13, Guadana 12, Umali 10, Penafiel 9, Navarro 9, Cunanan 9, Barba 7, Montano 5, Bravo 4, Larupay 2, Vinoya 2, Villegas 0

UPHSD 77 — Razon 18, Aurin 16, Abis 11, Omega 8, Nitura 8, Martel 6, Egan 5, Flores 2, Boral 2, Barcuma 1, Cuevas 0, Roque 0, Orgo 0, Nunez 0

Quarterscores: 13-20; 35-44; 63-56; 82-77