As the Final Four race enters its home stretch, the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers gained a much-needed cushion in the standings, taking a dominant 90-77 win over the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The win helps keep JRU’s grasp on third place with a 9-6 slate. On the other hand, CSB dropped to 3-12.
“Yung panalo namin ngayon, medyo gumanda for us na nasisilip na namin siguro, but we’re hoping to win against San Sebastian pa rin,” said JRU head coach Vergel Meneses.
Jed Mendoza led the Heavy Bombers’ attack with 19 points on 50 percent shooting, four rebounds, and three assists. Lead gunner Teytey Teodoro added 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting off the bench.
The Blazers had a gallant outing, cutting a once 18-point lead down to just six in the final frame.
“They tend to relax pagdating sa depensa. ‘Di pwedeng mangyari sa NCAA yun. any team can come back from any deficit. Sa malaking lamang. kahit sino kayang bumalik,” rued the PBA legend.
But Teodoro torched the Benilde defense in the final frame to spark the Heavy Bombers. Back-to-back baskets by the fourth-year guard followed by an Abdulwahab Abdulrazak basket gave JRU a 16-point cushion, 84-68, with 3:42 left.
Clement Leutcheu tried to get one back for Benilde, but five straight points by Ervin Grospe extended the Heavy Bombers’ lead to a game-high 19-point lead, 89-70, with 1:33 remaining in the contest.
Grospe added 14 points, while Abdulrazak finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Clement Leutcheu’s outstanding game went for naught, as he finished with 25 points on an excellent 10-for-14 clip to go along with 10 rebounds. Dino San Juan and JJ Domingo added 14 and 10 points respectively.
Saint Benilde shot their season-high 53 percent from the field. JRU shot at a higher clip at 58 percent.
JRU look to make it three in a row on Friday, October 6 when they face the San Sebastian Golden Stags at 2:00pm. Saint Benilde, on the other hand, hope to end their season strong, starting on Thursday, October 6, when they take on the Arellano Chiefs at 2:00pm.
JRU 90 – Mendoza 19, Teodoro 16, Grospe 14, Abdulrazak 12, Dela Virgen 9, David 8, Sawat 5, Lasquety 4, Poutouochi 3, Castor 0, Mariano 0, Mate 0.
CSB 77 – Leutcheu 25, San Juan 14, Domingo 10, Dixon 9, Belgica 7, Naboa 6, Johnson 3, Suarez 2, Castor 1, Pili 0, Sta. Maria 0, Velasco 0, Mercado 0.
Quarterscores: 21-20, 51-35, 67-59, 90-77.