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Bombs away! Teodoro’s late-game fury slams Mapua

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“Kadalasan, it’s not about the coaching, it’s about the player,” JRU head coach Vergel Meneses said about the huge performance of Tey Teodoro.

The Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers, behind Smart Elite Ambassador Teodoro, staged a huge 24-3 rally in the last 3:21 minutes of the game, in a huge 90-87 win over the season hosts, the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) Cardinals, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Cardinals playing without floor general CJ Isit (elbow injury) and leading scorer Josan Nimes (sore hamstring). But even without their leaders, the Cardinals backcourt stepped up huge to keep close with the Heavy Bombers. The backcourt rotation of Exeqiel Biteng and Stephen Que paced Mapua in the first half win scoring six and nine points respectively. Moreover, the defense was clicking for the season hosts as Allwell Oraeme, playing all 20 minutes in the first half, anchored the defense while Andretti Stevens was active on the perimeter in stealing the ball thrice.

The Heavy Bombers, however, limited the Cardinals to 13 points in the second quarter with their pressing defense. With his team only up three points with 4:07 remaining, Teodoro scores five straight points for the Heavy Bombers to put them up 38-34 at halftime.

During the third canto, every player from the backcourt of Mapua took charge in replacing the production of Nimes. Biteng scored eight points until the 3:43 mark of the third while Denniel Aguirre and Oraeme to put Mapua up 54-49. Biteng’s substitute Stephen Que then took over to close out the quarter in scoring ten straight points, capped by a three pointer, to give the hosts a 64-53 lead.

Disciplined defense by the Cardinals and the hot shooting of the team blitzed the Heavy Bombers. The Mapua lead would go to as high as 84-66 with a three pointer by Darell Menina with 3:31 remaining. Coach Vergel Menseses then called a timeout but did not speak to his players and let the players call the shots. Teodoro responded with a three pointer but was answered right back with a Oraeme putback. However, the JRU press forced Mapua to five straight turnovers. A free throw by Pontejos and a layup by Jordan Dela Paz cut the lead to 86-72 with 1:32 remaining. This was then followed by a three point play by Abdel Poutouochi and back-to-back three pointers by Teodoro to cut the lead to just five 86-81. With just 20.5 ticks to go, Oraeme missed a free throw and was rebounded by Paolo Pontejos, who nailed a top of the arc three-pointer to cut the lead to three with 11.7 to go. Teodoro managed to steal the ball of the inbound and converted on a layup and the harm by Stevens, fouling out the defensive ace as well. Teodoro missed the free throw, but Oraeme’s rebound fell out of bounds. After calling JRU’s final timeout, Teodoro spun in the paint and hit a layup over Allwell Oraeme to give the Heavy Bombers the lead 88-87. Another turnover by the Cardinals resulted to free throws by Dave Sanchez to extend the lead to three. In the final play, Justin Serrano threw a hail mary from beyond half court that could’ve sent the game into overtime. With the miss, the Jose Rizal University faithful celebrated the team’s miraculous comeback.

“It’s hard to play catch-up basketball,” an exhausted Vergel Meneses said after the game. However, he commended the late game instinct of his team especially Tey Teodoro. He called Teodoro a big time player who hit big time shots.

Teodoro, on the other hand, said that he has played in games were his team fell to a huge lead and eventually came back. However, this was the biggest stage he has done this.

Smart Elite ambassador Tey Teodoro scored a career-high 32 points on 12/20 shooting, including four triples in the game. This feat included 13 points in the last four minutes of the game. Paolo Pontejos complimented the effort with 16 points, with three triples from downtown.

In the loss, Allwell Oraeme played all but one minute in the game in collating 25 points and 19 rebounds. Spitfire point guards Biteng and Que combined for 33 points as well.

As a team the Cardinals shot 47% compared to the 45% of the victors. The main difference was the 33 turnovers committed by the Cardinals that resulted to 25 turnover points.

The Cardinals (4-4) will face the Letran Knights in their final assignment in the first round on Friday, August 14 at 2:00pm while the Heavy Bombers (5-3) face the UPHSD on Tuesday, August 18 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

JRU (90) – Teodoro 32, Dela Paz 20, Pontejos 16, Cruz 8, Dela Virgen 5, Abdul Wahab 4, Poutouochi 3, Sanchez 2, Lasquety 0, Aurin 0, Balagtas 0, Grospe 0, David 0

MIT (87) -Oraeme 25, Que 19, Biteng 14, Menina 8, Stevens 6, Aguirre 5, Brana 4, Raflores 4, Serrano 2, Villasenor 0, Nieles 0

Quarters: 20-21, 38-34, 53-64, 90-87.

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