Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers successfully diffused a late fourth quarter surge by Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws to come out victorious, 57-55, in their opening game of the 2015 FilOil-Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the Arena in San Juan.
Both teams had a sloppy start in the opening tip, as they kept the score close, 5-5, with 7:44 on the clock. But JRU pulled away, 11-7, after a Marco Balagtas jumper with 4:34 remaining. A triple from Pontejos in the 1:44 mark pushed their lead to four, 14-10, which eventually became the score as the quarter closed.
A slim 14-10 lead in favor of the yellow shirts initiated the second quarter. But midway into the canto, the Heavy Bombers’ slim lead turned into a double-digit one, 23-12, behind the efforts of Pontejos and Erwin Gorospe. FEU, meanwhile, managed to close within five, 25-20, after rookie Jojo Trinidad sank both of his freebies. However, the Heavy Bombers scored seven straight points to post a 32-20 cushion. A mid-range J by Trinidad in the 1:04 mark closed the quarter with JRU on top, 32-22.
The third canto raised its curtains still with JRU ahead, 32-22. But their advantage slowly faded, as FEU sparked an 11-5 run, capped by a Richard Escoto lay-up, to close within four, 37-33, with four minutes remaining. JRU quickly got back on their feet after a timeout as they pushed a 10-3 run of their own, sparked by Pontejos and Cris Dela Paz, to close the third up by nine, 47-36.
JRU opened the fourth and final frame with a triple courtesy of guard Paolo Pontejos to push their lead to 14 points, 50-36, just in the 9:20 mark. But the rookie-laden Tamaraws did not let the deficit to swell further, as they regained their consciousness on the offensive end and outscored their opponents 19-6 behind the efforts of big man Raymar Jose and star guard Mike Tolomia to close within just a single point, 56-55, with less than 45 seconds to go.
The Morayta-based cagers had all the chances to grab the lead, but their attempts were all for naught. One of which was a layup by Archie Inigo; that despite a good look at the basket, the shot clanged off the rim. FEU gave up a foul on Pontejos to freeze the clock, but the JRU guard split his free throws with 1.4 ticks left to seal the victory for the NCAA squad.
Pontejos paced the Heavy Bombers’ offense with 19 points, highlighted by three treys. Dela Paz supplied 11, while Balagtas chipped in 10. The Tamaraws, meanwhile, were led by Jose with 18 points and eight boards. Tolomia added 15 in the loss.
JRU (57) – Pontejos 19, Dela Paz 11, Balagtas 10, Teodoro 5, Gorospe 5, Sanchez 3, Lasquety 2, Poutouochi 2
FEU (55) – Jose 18, Tolomia 15, Escoto 6, Inigo 4, Trinidad 4, Arong 3, Tamsi 3, Bienes 2