The Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers bounced back from a slow start to put away the University of San Jose – Recolletos (USJ-R) Jaguars in the fourth, 75-58, to take their third consecutive victory at the 2015 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, Wednesday, April 29, at the FilOil Flying V Arena, San Juan City.
The Cebu-based squad surprised a tired JRU team, as the Jaguars mounted an early 10-point lead with a Tin Nzuzi basket, 12-2, five minutes into the first quarter. The Bombers then went on a rally of their own to cut the deficit to 3, 9-12, with baskets from Ervin Grospe and Tey Teodoro. Both teams traded baskets, and the period ended with the Jaguars leading 20-16.
JRU continued to work hard on both offense and defense during the second stanza. The Bombers’ defense limited USJ-R to two points at the start of second quarter, while, offensively, they scored six to close the gap, 20-22, capped by a booming triple from Paolo Pontejos at the 7:25 mark of the period. Moreoever, Jordan dela Paz was fouled in a subsequent play, but still made his two free throws to tie the game for the first time at 22-all. From there, the game became a see-saw battle until Pontejos sank another three-point jumper, six minutes going into halftime, to start a 7-0 run by JRU. However, UJS-R kept the game close, and ended the first half with a 6-2 run, giving the Heavy Bombers a precarious one-point lead, 33-32.
The Jaguars started the half with a basket to regain the lead, 34-33. From then on, the Heavy Bombers took control. Anchored on Dela Paz, who scored six of the Bombers’ points, the team pushed the lead to five, just a minute into the second half. At the 3:01 mark, Marco Balagtas shot his charities as JRU erected their biggest lead of the quarter at six, 47-41. USJ-R, however, refused to give up as they cut the gap to 2, 45-47. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Grospe made a buzzer-beater to end the third period with the Bombers leading 54-50.
In the payoff period, the Heavy Bombers went on to their pressure defense. Moreover, Pontejos exploded seven straight points to start the quarter for JRU to mount a double-digit lead of 11, 56-45, at the 7:57 mark. James Regalado got a basket back to cut the deficit, but that was all the Jaguars managed to sink in almost five minutes. The Bombers continued with their suffocating defense, which allowed them easy transition points. Afterwards, it was Dela Paz who took over the game as the veteran forward scored seven points to push the JRU lead to its biggest at 23, 71-48, 3:19 left in the game. With the game out of reach, the Bombers played their bench, and took their third straight win, 75-58.
Coach Vergel Meneses cited fatigue as the main reason for his squad’s slow start. The Heavy Bombers played their fourth consecutive game in five days. However, at the halftime huddle, “I challenged them, and their game picked up” , stated Meneses.
JRU will be leaving on Friday to Thailand to participate in a one-week tournament. The veteran coach shared that this tournament will give his players exposure. He added, “Iba rin kasi ‘yung laro dun.”
The JRU Heavy Bombers will next play on Friday, May 15 against the CSJL Knights, while the USJ-R Jaguars will play on Friday, May 1, 2015 against the EAC Generals at 1:30pm.
JRU (75) – Dela Paz 21, Pontejos 13, Teodoro 8, Grospe 6, Lasquety 6, Balagtas 6, Dela Virgen 5, Estrella 4, Poutouochi 2, Sanchez 2, Aurin 2
USJ-R (58) – Gastador 17, Villafranca 11, Villarias 9, Labares 7, Catipay 5, Navarra 3, Lajato 3, Galvez 2, Regalado 1
Quarters: 16-20, 33-32, 49-45, 75-58