MANILA, Philippines – The JRU Heavy Bombers continued their rise as an intimidating dark horse team in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament after a statement 83-80 win over the San Beda Red Lions at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Tuesday, October 4.
Agem Miranda set the tone with 17 of his game-high 21 points coming in the first half alone, eventually finishing with a 6-of-12 shooting clip and 9-of-16 from the line, plus 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
Fiery forward John Amores scored 19 on a 6-of-18 clip and 4-of-13 from three, while Marwin Dionisio and Joshua Guiab added 16 and 14 points, respectively, to help nestle JRU alongside San Beda at third place with identical 4-2 records.
Despite trailing by as many as 20 points in the first half, the Red Lions showed playoff poise and clawed their way back to striking distance in the fourth quarter. But they missed when it mattered most as JB Bahio bungled a wide-open layup in the game’s dying seconds that would have tied the thrilling affair.
Although JRU gave San Beda a new lease on life after a crucial Ry dela Rosa traveling violation with just 10 ticks left, Red Lions star James Kwekuteye failed to capitalize on the opportunity as his game-tying layup attempt fell short.
Guiab hit the first and missed the second of his charities off the San Beda duty foul, but JRU’s William Sy corralled the huge offensive board off a mad scramble and flung the ball high in the air as time expired to seal the Heavy Bombers’ first win over the Red Lions in a seven-game stretch dating back to 2016.
Bahio led the heartbreaking loss with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Gabriel Cometa and Kwekuteye scored 15 and 14, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the second game of the double-header, the Perpetual Help Altas snuck past the EAC Generals to keep them winless, 55-54.
Big man Mark Omega led the low-scoring slugfest with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Rey Barcuma scattered 10 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
Top Altas gunners Jielo Razon and Kim Aurin, meanwhile, were limited to just 8 and 6 points, respectively, on a combined 5-of-23 shooting as Perpetual hung on to rise to a fifth-ranked, 4-3 slate – just one spot above sixth-place defending champion Letran at 3-3.
Joshua Tolentino paced yet another sorry EAC loss with 15 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds as the season hosts tumbled to a 0-6 start for the tournament, barely edging embattled contender Mapua’s tally of 0-7.
JRU 83 – Miranda 21, Amores 19, Dionisio 16, Guiab 14, Dela Rosa 6, Sy 4, Gonzales 2, Celis 1, Delos Santos 0, Arenal 0, Villarin 0.
San Beda 80 – Bahio 19, Cometa 15, Kwekuteye 14, Ynot 12, Andrada 6, Alfaro 4, Cortez 4, Sanchez 3, Visser 2, Tagala 1, Cuntapay 0, Jopia 0.
Quarters: 24-16, 49-33, 66-58, 83-80.
Perpetual 55 – Omega 15, Barcuma 10, Razon 8, Aurin 6, Ferreras 5, Martel 3, Cuevas 3, Roque 2, Nitura 2, Egan 1, Abis 0, Orgo 0, Boral 0, Flores 0.
EAC 54 – Tolentino 15, Maguliano 7, Luciano 7, Liwag 5, Robin 4, An. Doria 4, Gurtiza 4, Umpad 4, Bajon 4, Cosa 0, Quinal 0, Cabuhat 0.
Quarters: 16-12, 41-28, 47-43, 55-54.