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Relentless Lyceum rips JRU apart


After a head-turning pre-season, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates did not let up in their season opener, diffusing the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 96-75, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

But even after a huge opening day win that will surely increase the expectations on them, Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson was quick to temper it, saying, “You don’t win championships in the first game so we have to try to be better.”

Leading the way for the Pirates was their prized recruit, CJ Perez. The Pampangueno finished with a double-double of 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting and 10 rebounds, He also dished out four assists and was able to steal the ball twice.

“We just try to be in the moment. Opening day,” Robinson added. “Nawala lang sa aura but what’s important is that we made stops and went back to our floor defense.”

And Perez, who was making his NCAA return after three years, turned the final frame into his own personal stage, as the utility forward carried the Pirates on his shoulders, scoring or assisting on the first 12 Lyceum points in the quarter.

Perez’s energy rubbed off on his teammates as the Pirates were relentless on both ends, making stops on defense while making the extra pass on offense. A find by Reymar Caduyac to a wide-open Spencer Pretta for a corner triple that gave Lyceum the biggest lead of the game, 92-62, with 3:34 left.

Harry Nzeusseu added 13 points, while all-around player MJ Ayaay added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

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JRU, though, were able to keep close during the third frame, cutting the lead to just two points, 43-45, after a lay-up by Jed Mendoza early in the frame. However, Ayaay was able to reinvigorate the Pirates, and they were able to regain their double-digit lead to end the third canto.

Even if Lyceum have a smaller line-up, the Pirates were able to out-rebound the Heavy Bombers, 53-32, leading to an 11-2 advantage in second chance points. Moreover, Lyceum were able to head to the line more, having 24 free throw attempts compared to just 11 for JRU.

Mendoza paced the Heavy Bombers with 18 points and six assists. Ervin Grospe added 15 points as Teytey Teodoro was limited to just a 5-for-13 shooting game for 13 points.

Lyceum look to sustain this start when they face defending champions San Beda Red Lions on Friday, July 14, at 5:00pm. JRU, on the other hand, look to move on from this game when they face the Perpetual Altas on the same day at 12:00nn.

The Scores:

LPU (96) – Perez 22, Nzeusseu 13, Ayaay 11, Marcelino Jv 9, Ibanez 9, Tansingco 8, Baltazar 7, Caduyac 5, Marcelino Jc 4, Santos 3, Pretta 3, Serrano 2, Cinco 0, Liwag 0.

JRU (75) – Mendoza 18, Grospe 15, Teodoro 13, Poutuouchi 13, Dela Virgen 4, Abdul Razak 3, Castor 3, Bordon 2, Mate 2, Sawat 2, Lasquety 0, David 0.

Quarterscores: 27-18, 43-37, 68-54, 96-75.

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