The Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers, after dismal outings in their last two games, gained a morale boosting victory over the listless Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals 67-47 Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
The score was close at the end of the first half as the Heavy Bombers by just seven points, 35-28. During the first two quarters, Mark Neil Cruz paced JRU with nine markers, five points coming from the charity stripe. Seneganese student-athlete Abdulrazak Abdulwahab also feasted in the paint against the small Emilio Aguinaldo lineup with five points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. The Generals, on the other hand, were led by rookie guard Mario Bonleon II with seven points. Leading scorers Francis Munsayac and Sidney Onwubere were limited to just three points in the half.
As a team during the same half as well, the pressing defense of Jose Rizal University forced the Generals to 14 turnovers that led to 10 turnover points. In addition, the first half was plagued with fouls as both teams combined for 31 fouls, 15 for EAC. Even if the Vergel Meneses-mentored squad led, they shot a dismal 9/38 from the field but made up for it at the free throw line in shooting 16/21. On the other hand, the Generals shot a horrid 25% (7/28).
The pressing defense of Jose Rizal intensified in the second half as they limited their opponents to just seven points in the third quarter. The Generals only had two field goals during the stretch courtesy of Onwubere. In addition, they were held scoreless from the six minute mark to the last minute of the quarter. In that stretch, supersub Paolo Pontejos, Jordan dela Paz, and Marco Balagtas extended the lead with aggressive drives. From just a seven point lead entering the quarter, the lead was extended to 51-35 to enter the third.
In the final quarter, Abdoul Poutouochi’s energy helped JRU seal the win. He scored the majority of his points in the quarter and boxed out well in the boards. Onwubere was the only one who scored for the Generals in the middle stretches of the final quarter before fouling out at the 2:08 mark. The game ended with the final score of 67/47.
Coach Vergel Meneses after the game said that this was a morale-boosting victory. “Yung aggressiveness namin nag-iba. Hindi na sila gigil that resulted to a better defense,” the PBA legend said. Moreover, he commended the performance of Cameroonian student-athlete Abdoul Poutouochi: “he just needs to be consistent. His energy is what our team needs.”
Poutouochi led the Heavy Bombers in scoring with 15 points while Jordan dela Paz scored 10 in just 11 minutes of action. Paolo Pontejos played a team-high 25 minutes but was just 3/14 from the field. For the Generals, Onwubere was the only one to score in double-figures with 10 points, shooting 6/10 from the charity stripe.
As a team, Emilio Aguinaldo shot a horrible 13/53 from the field and committed an eye-popping 30 turnovers. They were also horrible from the free throw line in converting on just 18 out of 31 attempts. For the victors, they shot just 30% from the field but assisted on all but five of their field goals.
The JRU Heavy Bombers next face the LPU Pirates on Friday, July 24 at 2:00pm while the EAC Generals face the MIT Cardinals on the same day at 12:00nn.
JRU (67) – Poutouochi 15, Dela Paz 10, Pontejos 9, Cruz 9, Estrella 7, Teodoro 5, Abdulwahab 5, Balagtas 3, Lasquety 2, Grospe 2, Dela Virgen 0, Sanchez 0, Aurin 0.
EAC (47) – Onwubere 10, Bonleon 9, Munsayac 8, Mejos 6, Adoumabba 5, Hamadou 4, Diego 2, Estacio 2, Morada 1, Pascua 0, Corilla 0, Mallari 0.
Quarterscores: 17-14, 35-28, 51-35, 67-47.