FLY, BOMBERS, FLY. Coming from a slow start, JRU is now sitting pretty at solo third.
Slowly but surely, Jose Rizal University is morphing from a darkhorse into a definite contender in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Heavy Bombers used a big-time second half to clip the wings of Mapua University, 68-59, and claim their fourth consecutive victory on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Starting the season at 2-3, Vergel Meneses’ wards are now flying high at 6-3 – good for solo third at the finish of the first round. “A win is a win, but the way we played, I’m not happy with it. They thought they can easily win against Mapua and Mapua gave them a hard time,” the head coach said.
JRU was put to the test this one, however, even though the Cardinals were missing the services of main man Andoy Estrella, starting forward Almel Orquina, and reserve big man Sean Magboo.
The Heavy Bombers only had a two-point edge, 44-42, until they went on a 20-3 tear bridging the third and fourth periods. Capping off what proved to be the pivotal push was a seldom seen triple from big man Ervin Grospe.
Still, Mapua didn’t quit just yet and came as close as 59-66 inside the final minute, but just did not have enough time to complete the comeback.
In the end, JRU weathered the storm despite another quiet game from top gun Teytey Teodoro who only had seven points.
Showing the way instead was first-year player Aaron Bordon who scored 17 points. Flanking him were Jed Mendoza and Ervin Grospe who had 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
JRU is chasing down first-place and undefeated Lyceum of the Philippines University and second-running 7-1 San Beda College. “We’re not yet in their level. We still have to improve,” Meneses expressed.
Conversely, the Cardinals continued their downward spiral with their eighth loss in a row following a season-opening win.
Christian Bunag, though, was a force inside with a 15-point, 21-rebound double-double.
JRU 68 – Bordon 17, Mendoza 12, Grospe 11, Dela Virgen 11, Teodoro 7, Abdul Razak 5, Poutouochi 3, Mate 2, Sawat 0, David 0
MAPUA 59 – Bunag 15, Victoria 12, Gabo 8, Aguirre 8, Pelayo 6, Nieles 4, Raflores 4, Jimenez 2
QUARTER SCORES: 19-16, 38-34, 49-42, 68-59
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