The JRU Heavy Bombers tightened its third place grip in the NCAA Season 93 standings after defeating the Letran Knights, 77-68, at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Thursday.
Ervin Grospe and Teytey Teodoro combined for 30 points to lead the Heavy Bombers and Jed Mendoza chipped in with 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
JRU is coming from a painful double overtime loss at the hands of the Arellano Chiefs last Thursday and the team was determined to make amends in their bout against the Knights.
“Tingin ko yung character ng team coming from a heartbreaking loss against a won ball game against Arellano – importante how we bounce back from that,” head coach Vergel Meneses said.
“Siguro dahil din sa pagkatalo namin sa AU, kaya mas nag focus kami dito against Letran,” added Teodoro. “Kasi pag matalo kami dito, baba kami. Sobrang importante samin to kaya trinabaho namin.”
The Knights were similarly trying to recuperate from an overtime defeat against the Perpetual Help Altas. But things didn’t go their way against JRU. JP Calvo led the scoring for the Knights with 21 points. Unfortunately, he lacked support from main gunners Rey Nambatac and Bong Quinto. The two conspired for 26 points but only shot 7-for-21 from the field. As a team, Letran shot 37 percent.
“Defense is our main offense. Yun ang main weapon namin,” explained Meneses, citing that they uncharacteristically gave up so many points to their opponent in their previous outing.
Sitting on a 7-4 record, JRU is right behind league leaders LPU Pirates (11-0) and San Beda Red Lions (10-1). This season, they are determined to return to the Final Four after missing out last year.
“Importante kahit maghabol ka, nasa ibabaw ka,” Meneses said about the race in the standings. “Importante makapasok.”
The EAC Generals meanwhile improved to a 5-6 record after cruising to an 85-72 victory over the Mapua Cardinals.
Jerome Garcia lit up the scoreboard with 27 points, 23 of which came in the first half alone. Sidney Onwubere put a huge effort with a 16-point, 15-rebound outing.
“Napakaswerte niya dahi 23 points pa lang siya first half ata. Very lucky lang those shots were made,” EAC coach Ariel Sison said about Garcia’s performance.
The Generals enjoyed a lead as high as 18 points in a much-welcomed victory. Sison lamented that his team is trying to keep afloat despite the number of injures.
“I’m not happy. Frustrated ako sa nangyari kasi despite yung goal namin early in the season na we want to be in the Final Four,” Sison said about the team’s injury problems.
EAC has lost both Hamadou Laminou and Juju Bautista and to make matters worse, even big man Rustan Bugarin is also hurt, playing only four minutes versus the Cardinals.
Still, Sison is doing his best to remain positive about the team’s outlook and Final Four hopes.
“Come what may. Basta laro lang pero syempre di pa rin matanggal yung will to win,” he said confidently. “Yun nga yung sinasabi ko sa kanila na kahit kulang tayo, have the will to win. Kaya yan. Somebody has to step up.”
The EAC Generals clash heads with the JRU Heavy Bombers next Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
JRU 77 – Grospe 15, Teodoro 15, Mendoza 11, Dela Virgen 10, Lasquety 9, Poutouochi 7, Abdulrazak 6, Sawat 4, Bordon 0, David 0.
CSJL 68 – Calvo 21, Nambatac 14, Quinto 12, Balanza 11, Mandreza 6, De Villa 2, Vacaro 2, Balagasay 0, Bernabe 0, Caralipio 0, Gedaria 0, Pamulaklakin 0, Pascual 0, Taladua 0.
Quarter scores: 12-12, 36-27, 58-45, 77-68
EAC 85 – Garcia 27, Onwubere 16, Mendoza I. 9, Diego 8, Munsayac 7, Mendoza J. 6, Pascua 5, Tampoc 5, Guzman 2, Bugarin 0, Corilla 0, Neri 0.
MU 72 – Victoria 15, Raflores 14, Orquina 12, Aguirre 8, Bunag 7, Estrella 6, Gabo 4, Pelayo 4, Nieles 2.
Quarter scores: 28-22, 53-39, 68-57, 85-72