After seven games of frustrations and heartbreaks, Jed Mendoza and the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers finally broke through.
Friday afternoon, the Heavy Bombers punched in a win they could call their own, holding off the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 57-55, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
This is JRU’s second win for the season — the first coming of San Sebastian’s forfeited game last July 24.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, I keep reminding them na laruin lang nila then good things will happen. I know it’s a hard win but we played according to the gameplan,” said nine-year Heavy Bombers head coach Vergel Meneses.
But nothing comes easy in the NCAA as JRU played severely short-handed for the game with MJ Dela Virgen (ear infection), Darius Estrella (broken wrist), and Ry dela Rosa sitting out.
A depleted Heavy Bombers squad though came out to play right from tip-off, holding the Generals down to just six points and leading by as much as 16 points.
“Yung mga guys coming off the bench, yung [John] Santos dumedepensa, everybody may nakuha ako,” remarked Meneses.
However, the Generals though came storming back in the final frame. The Heavy Bombers did not cave in this time around.
Up by just a solitary point with 55.2 ticks left, Jerome Garcia was wide-open from downtown. Argem Miranda had the presence of mind to recover on defense, swatting away Garcia’s attempt.
Rookie Mark Mallari split his stripe afterwards but Jun Silvarez was there to gobble the offensive rebound. His inexperience though got the best of him as he threw the ball away to give EAC a chance with five seconds left.
Off a timeout, the Generals were able to get the ball to Hamadou Laminou. Silvarez atoned for his mistake with a huge swat to seal the win.
As the buzzer sounded, Jed Mendoza, who had 18 points, five assists, five steals, and four rebounds, dropped to the floor in tears.
“Hindi ako naiyak sa panalo, naiyak ako nung nakita ko tong umiiyak e. Talagang gustong manalo ni Jed,” said Meneses.
“Siyempre sobrang saya, alam ni Lord at ng team na kung gaano ko gusto manalo. Nahiya na rin ako sa JRU community dahil todo suporta sila e pero nabigo namin sila nung previous games. Who knows, puwede pang magtuloy tuloy ito,” added Mendoza.
Mallari stepped up in lieu of Dela Virgen with 12 points. Silvarez gobbled down 11 boards.
The Generals, who committed 28 turnovers, were led by Garcia’s 19 points. Laminou was lited to just 10 points and seven rebounds.
JRU looks to pick up its third win when it faces the San Beda Red Lions on Tuesday, August 28. EAC, on the other hand, hopes to end its first round strong when it takes on the Letran Knights on Tuesday, August 21.
JRU 57 – Mendoza 18, Mallari 12, Esguerra 8, Silvarez 8, Miranda 7, Padua 2, Santos 2, Bordon 0, Doromal 0
EAC 55 – Garcia 19, Laminou 10, Diego 6, Bautista 6, Maguliano 4, Gonzales 4, Bugarin 4, Natividad 2, Cadua 0, Mendoza 0, Neri 0, Tampoc 0, Robin 0
Quarterscores: 20-6, 28-23, 47-38, 57-55
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