By WAYLON GALVEZ
Games Tuesday (The Arena, San Juan City)
8 a.m. – SSC-R vs Perpetual Help (Jrs)
10 a.m. – St. Benilde vs Mapua (Jrs)
12 noon – SSC-R vs Perpetual Help (Srs)
2 p.m. – St. Benilde vs Mapua (Srs)
4 p.m. – Jose Rizal vs Arellano (Srs)
6 p.m. – Jose Rizal vs Arellano (Jrs)
Jose Rizal University kept its playoff bid alive as the Heavy Bombers repeated over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals 69-63 in NCAA Season 95 Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
JRU team captain Agem Miranda led the team with 16 points off the bench, while Marq Dionisio finished with 13 points along with 16 rebounds and Ry dela Rosa 11 points.
The victory was crucial for the Heavy Bombers as it snapped a three-game losing skid.
More importantly, it kept them in playoff conversation as it improved to 4-7 – three and a half games behind San Sebastian College-Recoletos and Letran with similar 7-3 cards for third spot in the standings.
JRU head coach Louie Gonzales said he was pleased with the way his players delivered in the final stretch to compete a sweep of EAC following a 64-58 win in their first meeting last August 1.
“We’re thankful that at least we won,” said Gonzales. “But for me, more than the victory we got, it’s all about closing out the game. If you notice we really lost bad in our previous three games.”
“That was our problem, on how we close out. We all know that these are young players. But we’re not on that stage anymore. It’s all about mental toughness now and a matter of execution,” he added.
JRU’s defense limited EAC to 21-of-58 (36.21%) shooting from the field, while converting 28-of-61 (45.90%) of its own attempts, and likewise controlled the boards, 46-31.
Gonzales said it’s important for him that his players are adjusting well with his system, this being his first year with the Heavy Bombers following his lone stint last year with De La Salle University.
“It’s not about winning games, but on how the players adopt to the system we’re hoping to put in place on our first season. I told the players that it’s not easy playing for me because we set the bar high, and I want the commitment (of players) on and off the court,” he said.
EAC, on the other hand, suffered its ninth straight loss to drop to 1-10 – the sixth straight season the school had 10 or more losses. JP Maguliano led the Generals with 16 points, while Jethro Mendoza added 15 points.
In the second game, Mapua got back at Letran as the Cardinals fashioned out a 105-101 double overtime win over the Knights to fan their own playoff bid.
Justin Serrano and Cyril Gonzales came through with big plays when they scored consecutive layups that shattered the game’s final deadlock at 100-100 and keyed the Cardinals’ win.
Guard Noah Lugo finished with a career-high best 31 points, Gonzales contributed 18 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Laurenz Victoria scored 13 for the Mapua, which moved up to solo sixth in the standings with a 4-6 card.
The setback pushed Letran to fourth sports with a 7-4 record. Fran Yu led the Knights with 23 points, while Ato Ular, who converted a basket that sent the game to OT, added 19 points and Jerrick Balanza had 17 markers.
JRU 69 – Miranda 16, Dionisio 13, Dela Rosa 11, Delos Santos 9, Amores 7, Aguilar 7, Arenal 6, Vasquez 0, Abaoag 0, Macatangay 0
EAC 63 – Maguliano 16, Mendoza 15, Cadua 7, Gurtiza 5, Corilla 4, Taywan 4, Luciano 3, Carlos 3, Estacio 2, De Guzman 2, Gonzales 2
Quarters: 13-16; 35-33; 52-50; 69-63.
MAPUA 105 – Lugo 31, Gonzales 18, Victoria 13, Serrano 12, Hernandez 9, Nieles 9, Bonifacio 8, Bunag 5, Salenga 0, Aguirre 0, Jabel 0, Garcia 0, Nocum 0.
LETRAN 101 – Yu 23, Ular 19, Balanza 17, Muyang 10, Batiller 10, Mina 7, Sangalang 5, Ambohot 4, Caralipio 4, Javillonar 2, Olivario 0, Balagasay 0, Reyson 0, Guarino 0 Quarters: 9-18; 34-37; 58-59; 80-80; 89-89 (OT), 105-101 (2OT).