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Teodoro ties career-high as JRU strengthens Final Four hold

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As the race for the final four slots in the NCAA tightens up, the JRU Heavy Bombers are now tied at the third spot of the standings as they notch a 64-55 win over the Lyceum Pirates, held at the Filoil Arena, Tuesday afternoon.

Defense was stellar for the Heavy Bombers as they tightened up against the cold Lyceum team, who could not find their mark early. JRU relied also with their early assists, as early dishes propelled them to an early 12-4 mark. Teytey Teodoro also ignited their advantage in the first frame, while a good solid defense from the squad limited LPU to single-digit scoring after ten minutes of action.

Two layups by MJ Ayaay opened up the second quarter as JRU only had a field goal in nearly four minutes in. As the Pirates started to knock on the door to slice the lead, Paolo Pontejos and MJ Dela Virgen both knocked down a triple to extend their lead to 24-15. They maintained the nine point lead until the end of the first half as Teytey Teodoro fired seven points in the last stretch of the second period. At the break, JRU was already hoarding the rebounding department with 16 early offensive rebounds that led to seven fast break points.

LPU won the scoring in the third period by a solitary point, 18-17, with their front court doing the necessary offense. However, the third frame was all about Teytey Teodoro, as the guard drilled in four triples in the period to give his team a double-digit edge. His triples also served as rally extinguishers, as despite a mini 6-0 spurt by Lyceum, JRU was able to hold the lead with their running game on point.

Things got interesting with LPU scoring the first five points of the final period and make the score 51-48 with about nine minutes left in regulation. However, Teodoro once again came into the rescue as he scored five straight points capped by a fastbreak and one play. The Pirates scored their last seven points from the free throw area while JRU’s defense down the stretch was sufficient enough to ice the game and limit scoring of LPU.

“Nasa kamay na namin ang opportunity,” said a relieved JRU Head Coach Vergel Meneses. “Di na kami mag-iisip na kelangan matalo si ganito, si ganiyan. Nasa amin na ang chances.”

Moreover, the Heavy Bombers also limited the Pirates to just 23% shooting, the same range of shooting they gave up against the Perpetual Altas last September 25. “Depensa ang lagi ko ineemphasize sa kanila. Hindi yung opensa. Against Perpetual, they never scored when we were up in the end. We always make it up in the defensive end,” he said.

In the game, Tey Teodoro tied his career-high 32 points. He shot 10/22 from the field including 6/12 from downtown. Coach Meneses said that he spoke with the Smart Elite ambassador during halftime. “Kanina di maganda laro ni Paolo, si Tey nag step-up. Ganun din naman pag masama laro niya, si Paolo nag-step up nun,” he said.

Even in scoring just seven points in the game, Abdoul Poutouochi grabbed 17 huge boards and blocked four shots.

For the hapless Pirates, Victor Nguidjol topscored for his team with 13 points and nine boards in just 13 minutes of game time. Smart Elite ambassador, Joseph Gabayni added 11 points and ten boards.

The win gives JRU a tied third spot with an 11-6 record, and has San Sebastian as their last opponent of the elimination round. They are tied with Perpetual and are behind of San Beda and Letran, who both tallies a 12-4 slate. Mapua and Arellano tries to catch up with a 10-6 standing.

The Scores:
JRU (64) – Teodoro 32, Pontejos 7, Poutouochi 7, Dela Virgen 6, Cruz 4, Estrella 4, Dela Paz 2, Grospe 2, Lasquety 1, Astilla 0, Sanchez 0.
LPU (55) – Nguidjol 13, Gabayni 11, Marata 9, Mbida 9, Ayaay 4, Bulawan 4, Sunga 3, Soliman 2, Malabanan 0, Baltazar 0, Lacastesantos 0, Alanes 0.
Quarterscores: 16-9, 34-25, 51-43, 64-55.

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