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Jose Rizal U freewheels past EAC in morale-boosting win

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The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers are now in a tough predicament as they have fallen to sixth place in the tight Final Four race.

After losing close games against the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals and the San Beda College Red Lions, the Heavy Bombers boosted their morale in a blowout win against the Emilio Aguinaldo College, 87-64, early Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The cagers from Shaw Boulevard quickly lambasted their opponents with a 10-0 run to start the game. Darius Estrella and Mark Cruz catapulted the Heavy Bombers with jumpers during the rally. On defense, Abdoul Poutouochi anchored the team that resulted to the Generals shooting ill-advised jumpshots. The Generals were only able to sink in two field goals in the quarter as JRU held a 25-7 lead to end the first.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Heavy Bombers continued to bombard their opponents with a combination of outside shots and floaters. The Generals had no choice but to bring in Sidney Onwubere, who was reprimanded for disciplinary sanctions, into the game at the 4:42 mark and tried to squeeze in energy for his team but Paolo Pontejos continued the JRU onslaught. JRU continued to lead with an exorbitant 42-23 lead to enter halftime.

In the second half, Onwubere tried to lift his team up by supplying the Paco-based squad with constant energy. Despite his efforts, the Heavy Bomber momentum simply carried over to the second half. Pontejos and John Grospe continued to toy with the EAC defense and converting on even the most outrageous of attempts. Mario Bonleon III and Francis Munsayac continued to play hard until the end of the game but were simply no match as the Heavy Bombers took home its seventh win 87-64.

“We just need to take it one game at a time,” a visibly disappointed coach Vergel Meneses said after the game. The team’s fate is no longer in their hands as continuous wins by the Perpetual Altas, Mapua Cardinals, and Arellano Chiefs give JRU a slim hope of entering the next stage of the tournament. “We just have to win our games and see where we go from there,” Meneses closed.

The Heavy Bombers were led by Pontejos’ 21 points. The spitfire guard was 9/17 from the field and had two triples. Smart Elite ambassador Tey Teodoro had 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. On the other hand, Sidney Onwubere, who played the entire second half, had 21 markers, shot 9/12 from the foul line, and nine rebounds. Smart Elite ambassador Francis Munsayac had 9 points as well in the losing cause.

As a team, JRU shot 46% from the field compared to the dismal 30% of EAC. In addition, JRU moved the ball really well in assisting on 21 of their 36 made attempts from the field.

The JRU Heavy Bombers (7-6) next face the CSB Blazers on Tuesday, September 15 at 2:00pm while the EAC Generals (2-11) look to end the final stretch of their season on a high note as they face the SSC-R Stags on Thursday, September 17 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

JRU (87) – Pontejos 21, Teodoro 13, Grospe 13, Cruz 11, Dela Paz 7, Estrella 6, Astilla 4, AbdulWahab 4, Sanchez 3, Lasquety 2, Aurin 2, Poutouochi 1, Balagtas 0, Dela Virgen 0

EAC (64) – Onwubere 21, Hamadou 10, Munsayac 9, Mejos 8, Bonleon 7, Pascual 5, Corilla 2, Estacio 2, Pascua 0, General 0, Diego 0

Quarters: 25-7, 42-23, 68-48, 87-64

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