Debuting team Victoria Sports-Manuel L. Quezon University Stallions nailed their breakthrough win in the league, shocking the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 76-66, Thursday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Robbie Herndon took charge for his side, pouring eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, including the back-to-back fade-away jumpers in the final minute to seal the deal late. He also grabbed four rebounds.
Aris Dionisio corralled a double-double with his 20 markers, 13 boards, and four blocks, while Chris Bitoon poured 12 points, four assists, and two rebounds.
“I just told my guys to work hard every game because every game, we’re getting better. We shouldn’t mind our losses. The important thing is our improvement,” said coach Jino Manansala.
Victoria Sports improved to a 1-4 slate, while sending JRU to their third straight defeat and a 2-3 card.
Behind Herndon, Victoria Sports gained control early and even took a 12-point edge, 50-38 thanks to a pair of Bitoon freebies with 4:42 left in the third frame.
Jhaps Bautista led the Heavy Bombers fightback in the payoff period, commandeering an 11-0 tear to give JRU a 60-58 lead. But Dionisio snatched the lead back for Victoria, dropping six straight points, to give his team a 68-62 lead with 3:17 remaining.
The Heavy Bombers shot just 32 percent from the field compared to 38 percent for the Stallions. Moreover, Victoria Sports went 21-of-26 from the charity stripe while JRU only had 15 free throw attempts.
Bautista topped JRU with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Tey Teodoro had 16 markers.
Victoria Sports will face Café France next on Thursday, February 23, 3:00 PM at the Ynares Arena. On the other hand, JRU’s next match will be versus Racal on February 27, Monday, 5:00 PM at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Victoria Sports-MLQU (76) – Herndon 22, Dionisio 20, Bitoon 12, Lao 5, Sorela 5, Koga 4, Grimaldo 3, Mag-isa 3, Nicholls 2, Butron 0, Ragasa 0.
JRU (66) – Bautista 20, Teodoro 16, Pontejos 10, Poutouochi 8, Dela Virgen 6, Ambulodto 2, Grospe 2, Lasquety 2, Escosio 0, Estrella 0, Sawat 0.
Quarterscores: 17-17, 40-36, 58-49, 76-66.
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