Young Altas target Final Four

MANILA, Philippines — Perpetual Help coach Frankie Lim aims to improve the Altas’ forgettable performance in his coaching return in the 94th NCAA men’s basketball tournament reeling off July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Lim, who came into the Las Piñas-based school as head of its basketball program before assuming the head coaching post last January, said they’re initial target is to improve on its 4-14 (win-loss) record last year when the Altas finished second-to-last in the 10-team field.

“We’re in a rebuilding process because we lost a lot of players so it will already be an accomplishment if we could improve on our finish last year,” said Lim, who had won championships with the San Beda Lions a decade ago.

Lim will pin his hopes on a relatively young roster after losing starters JG Ylagan and Gab Dagangon to graduation, and Kieth Llowel Pido, who underwent ankle surgery that will keep him out the whole of the season.

The only remaining players from last year’s roster are Prince Eze, AJ Coronel, Anton Tamayo and Rome Mangalino.

Filling the vacuum are transferees Ton Ton Peralta from Cagayan de Oro, Kim Aurin of St. Francis, Jerome Pasia of PMMS, Carl Soriano, Edgar Charcos of University of the East and Kit Jimenez of Far Eastern U.

The Altas also recruited Luke Sese (San Beda), Jielo Razon (Perpetual) and Jasper Cuevas (Perpetual) straight from high school.

“While we have modest expectations, we will still give it our best to make it to the Final Four,” said Lim.

Meanwhile, Perpetual Help president Anthony Tamayo expressed optimism on the school’s campaign, not just in basketball but also in various fronts.

“I have faith that we will do good this season in many fronts. We have high expectations,” said Tamayo, citing the strong performances of their track and field team in national meets, the school’s sound volleyball program and their acquisitions of new coaches in football and basketball.

“I hope they could replicate our performance in the 1996 and 1997 seasons when we won as general champions,” said Tamayo.

Francis Medina (400m) and Ernie Calipay (juniors high jump) bagged a gold medal each in the recent Philippine Athletics Championships in Ilagan City, Isabela. The Altas also ruled the men’s and juniors’ divisions in volleyball and took most of the individual awards.