MANILA, Philippines – Agem Miranda buried a buzzer-beater to lift the JRU Bombers to a 61-60 escape over the EAC Generals in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament on Friday, November 4 at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
With 2.6 ticks left, JL Delos Santos found Miranda from the inbound for the long pass that resulted in the winning basket.
Just seconds before that, JRU’s chances looked dismal as EAC caught fire late in the fourth quarter with a 16-0 salvo for a 60-56 advantage with just 10.7 seconds left in the game.
But John Amores also delivered in the clutch, sinking a triple after coming off the Bombers’ final timeout to halt the Generals’ run and bring JRU within a point, 60-59.
“Sa last play, so, ang first option talaga namin do’n is si Ry (de La Rosa),” said Miranda, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“Tapos after no’n, siyempre nakita namin na nag-all switch sila. So sabi ni JL na flumash lang ako sa gitna, ibabato niya sa ‘kin, then makukuha ko ‘yon. ‘Pag nakuha ko ‘yon, tira ko agad.”
(In the last play, our first option was really Ry de La Rosa. When we saw that they were making the switch-all, JL told me to post up in the elbow, and he would give me the pass. When I get the pass, I would immediately shoot it.)
Dela Rosa shared top scoring honors with Miranda with 12 points for the Bombers, who kept their Final Four hopes alive as they snapped their three-game losing streak to climb up at 6-5.
Nat Cosejo, meanwhie, tallied a game-high of 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the losing effort for EAC.
The luckless Generals skidded to their 13th loss in 14 games.
Like the Heavy Bombers, the San Sebastian Stags survived the Arellano Chiefs with a 71-66 decision to improve to a 5-6 record.
After a pair of deadlocks late in the final quarter, a crucial Rhinwill Yambing trey along with a Kenneth Villapando layup put the Stags on top by four, 70-66.
“Every game, kinakausap ko sila. Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Di naman kaya nang mag-isa ‘to’. Kaya nga team para lahat kami magtutulungan”, said Villapando, who earned Player of the Game honors with 15 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals.
(Every game, I talk to them. I said, ‘We can’t do this on our own’. That’s why we are a team so that we can all work together.)
The Stags trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half as the Chiefs highlighted their run with back-to-back three-pointers from Travis Mantua.
However, Villapando led the Stags’ fightback in the last seven minutes of the first half to trim their deficit to just 4 points, 33-37, at the break.
San Sebastian sustained the momentum in the second half as Itchie Altamirano put them up, 38-37.
Emotions also ran high as a foul by Alex Desoyo led to a heated discussion with Arellano head coach Cholo Martin in the third quarter, while Altamirano, who fnished with 12 points, was also handed an unsportsmanlike foul late in the game.
Mantua paced Arellano with 15 points as the Chiefs suffered back-to-back losses to fall to a 5-8 record.
JRU 61 – Dela Rosa 12, Miranda 12, Celis 10, Sy 9, Amores 5, Arenal 3, Delos Santos 2, Dionisio 2, Guiab 2, Medina 2, Tan 2, De Jesus 0, Gonzales 0, Abaoag 0
EAC 60 – Cosejo 16, Maguliano 15, Liwag 5, Doria 5, Balowa 4, Dominguez 4, Luciano 4, Tolentino 4, Angeles 2, Quinal 1, Doria 0, Cosa 0.
Quarters: 16-12, 31-27, 51-41, 61-60.
San Sebastian 71 – Villapando 15, Desoyo 12, Altamirano 12, Yambing 7, Are 7, Shanoda 4, Una 3, Escobido 3, Aguilar 3, Clahat 2, Suico 2, Concha 1, Cosari 0.
Arellano 66 – Mantua 15, Doromal 13, Flores 8, Talampas 8, Tolentino 8, Mallari 5, Domingo 3, Abastillas 2, Oliva 2, Orangutan 2, Oftana 0, Tan 0, Sunga 0.
Quarters: 14-23, 33-37, 49-48, 71-66.
– Jaslyn Dela Cuesta and Ivy Ferrer/Rappler.com