By Jerome Lagunzad
There is more to host Perpetual Help than Nigerian center Prince Eze as the Altas aim to get back in Final Four contention in the NCAA seniors basketball tournament that gets going on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Vastly-improving wingman Kim Aurin and former University of the East guard Edgar Charcos are both expected to play bigger roles under first-year mentor Frankie Lim as Perpetual Help seeks to make it back to the semifinals after missing the trip last year following the transfer of star center Bright Akhuetie to University of the Philippines.
The 6-foot-2 Aurin, who once suited up for Jose Rizal University, appears to be in for a breakout season after making some noise in the Altas’ recent PBA D-League Aspirants Cup stint where he emerged as one of the team’s leading scorers.
“He just needs to have that consistency on his game,” said Lim, 58, in a phone interview yesterday. “I see great potential in him because he has so many abilities that he can provide to the team. He just needs to play good on a consistency basis.”
Even school president Anthony Tamayo is hoping to make a “good noise” in the coming season.
“It will not be a smooth sailing but we will try our level best to make it to the Final Four this time,” said Tamayo, who is likewise counting heavily on the numbers Auric and Charcos could produce.
The 5-foot-10 Charcos, who struggled as backup guard when he was still with the Red Warriors, could finally gain the big break that he’s wanting since he will serve as the chief playmaker in the absence of veteran guard Keith Pido, who will be out for the upcoming season as he recovers from an ankle surgery.
“Edgar will be our starting point guard this season. He’s been leading the team well and I hope he will continue doing that,” added Lim.
If Aurin and Charcos could live up to their potential, that should be nothing less than a welcome sight for the Altas, who will also bring in versatile forward AJ Coronel, Anton Tamayo, Tonton Peralta, and Rome Mangalino.
After winning just four matches out of 18 tries last year, Lim set a loftier goal for the Altas. “Of course, we have to better our performance compared to last year. We’re looking at the Final Four and if we can do it, it will be a big boost to our program,” he said.
Still, all eyes will be on the 6-foot-11 Eze, 21, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year awardee whom Lim feels could follow the footsteps of former Red Lions’ big men, Sam Ekwe and Sudan Daniel who both helped him win four NCAA titles during his productive tenure with San Beda.