(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
12 p.m. — Mapua vs CSB
3 p.m. — Letran vs SSC-R
JOSE Rizal University (JRU) shut down San Beda when it mattered most as it pulled off a giant-sized 83-80 victory yesterday to continue its fairy tale run in NCAA Season 98 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
With their early 20-point leads cut down to two in the dying seconds, the Bombers shut down the Lions in their last two possessions to preserve their fourth straight win that vaulted the former to joint third with the latter on 4-2 records.
JRU’s stifling defense forced JB Bahio and James Kwekuteye to misfire on their attempts in close range in separate plays that sealed its first win over San Beda since a 97-88 triumph on Sept. 6, 2016.
“We prided ourselves in playing defense,” said JRU coach Louie Gonzales.
It also helped that JRU distributed the ball well, which produced a lot of scoring opportunities particularly from Agem Miranda, who unleashed a career-high 19-point effort.
It also created heroes in John Amores, Marwin Dionisio and Joshua Guiab, who scattered 19, 16 and 14 points, respectively.
In the end, defense proved the biggest key.
From the get-go, the Bombers made life difficult for the Lions and raced to 20-point leads several times in the first half.
San Beda though came roaring back and trimmed it to just a single digit, 66-58, at the end of the third canto.
JRU regained its composure and kept a double-digit cushion in the fourth period before it lost steam anew, allowing San Beda to close the gap at two points with less than a minute to go.
But the Lions failed to cash in on their chances, no thanks to sorry misses by Messrs. Bahio and Kwekuteye late.
The loss was heartbreaking for the Lions, who were hoping to zoom to the top alongside the College of St. Benilde Blazers (5-1) and Lyceum of the Philippines U Pirates (5-1).
It was not meant to be though. — Joey Villar
JRU 83 — Miranda 21, Amores 19, Dionisio 16, Guiab 14, Dela Rosa 6, Sy 4, Gonzales 2, Celis 1, Delos Santos 0, Arenal 0, Villarin 0
San Beda 80 — Bahio 19, Cometa 15, Kwekuteye 14, Ynot 12, Andrada 6, Alfaro 4, Cortez 4, Sanchez 3, Visser 2, Tagala 1, Cuntapay 0, Jopia 0
Quarterscores: 24-16; 49-33; 66-58; 83-80