JRU upsets Letran, keeps NCAA Final Four hopes alive
MANILA, Philippines – Jose Rizal University stayed in the hunt for an NCAA Season 91 Final Four berth by pulling off an upset triumph against Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 86-80, on Friday, September 18 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
With Letran sparking a down-the-stretch surge, the Vergel Meneses-mentored troop relied on Paolo Pontejos, who hauled 19 markers and drilled a step-back triple to stop the Knights’ rally late in the dying seconds of the fourth period.
Pontejos spearheaded a 13-2 run during to steer the Heavy Bombers to their third-straight victory and improve to a 9-6 record in the ongoing eliminations.
In addition, he scored nine of his 21 baskets in the last ten minutes of play that turned a 69-70 deficit into an 82-72 advantage with 2:43 remaining in the final frame.
“His experience is there. He can offer a good game, but he has to be consistent,” Meneses said of Pontejos in the post-game interview.
Letran was able to convert 5 unanswered points to place themselves within striking distance, 77-82, with 41.8 ticks left in the regulation, but Abdel Poutouochi was able to get the rebound and nailed two charities to secure the win.
“We won this game because of execution, extra passes, and the boys’s willingness to compete against Letran. Everybody knows how hard it is to beat Letran,” Meneses stated.
Letran drops its second-consecutive outing and downgrades its win-loss standing to 11-4 as the pro-bound duo of Kevin Racal and Mark Cruz combined 40 points for the Knights.
JRU (86) - Pontejos 21, Grospe 13, Estrella 11, Dela Paz 10, Teodoro 9, Poutouochi 8, Abdulwahab 5, Sanchez 4, Cruz 3, Astilla 2, Aurin 0, Balagtas 0, Dela Virgen 0.
Letran (80) - Racal 23, Cruz 17, Nambatac 12, Sollano 8, Balanza 6, Apreku 4, Luib 4, Calvo 3, Publico 3, Gedaria 0, Balagasay 0, Quinto 0.
Quarter scores: 25-15, 48-40, 64-62, 86-80. – Rappler.com