Coach Louie Gonzales’ absence was hardly felt as Jose Rizal University escaped a late-game scare from Letran, 79-74, to return in the winning track in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball at the at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Agem Miranda topscored with 17 points while JL Delos Santos backstopped him with 14 points as they orchestrated the offense for the Heavy Bombers in waning minutes that spoiled Deo Cuajao’s heroics for the Knights, sealing their ninth win in 15 outings for a 9-6 record, which also kept their Final Four hopes alive.
Miranda said their win, which snapped a two-game losing streak, gave them the needed boost in their Final Four campaign.
They last made it to the crucial phase in Season 95.
“Kailangan naming manalo kasi, so bawal na kami matalo, so yung mindset namin one game at a time lang, trabaho lang kami lagi para makapanalo kami at makapasok sa Final Four [contention],” Miranda said.
The Mandaluyong-based squad leaned on their fourth quarter rally that were spearheaded by Miranda and Delos Santos, who both conspired to earn a 74-63 lead with 1:36 seconds to play.
However, the Rensy Bajar-mentored squad refused to back down, banking on Cuajao’s hot shooting highlighted by his two triples that trimmed the gap to just three, 74-77 at 19.2 second mark.
JRU’s Patrick Ramos got fouled by Monje in the following possession, then splitting his free throws for a 78-74 lead.
Kobe Monje, who fired 18 points, had the chance to bring reigning champion Letran at bay, but his left corner trey bounced off the rim.
The Knights suffered their seven consecutive losses with 1-14 card.
Joshua Guiab finished with 12 points while Shawn Argente added eight, playing without their head tactician Gonzales, who has been suspended after getting two technical fouls in their defeat over College of St. Benilde, 84-81, last Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Cuajao scattered 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal while Paolo Javillonar had 10. Jay Garupil and Kevin Santos scored nine points apiece for the Knights.
Letran’s skipper Kurt Reyson was also absent as he is still nursing a right ankle injury.
JRU 79– Miranda 17, Delos Santos 14, Guiab 12, Argente 8, Ramos 6, Dionisio 6, Medina 5, De Leon 4, Dela Rosa 3, Sarmiento 2, Mosqueda 2, Arenal 0, Pabico 0, Sy 0
Letran 74– Monje 18, Cuajao 16, Javillonar 10, Garupil 9, Santos 9, Ariar 4, Bautista 4, Battallier 2, Go 2, Bojorcelo 0
Quarterscores: 20-22; 44-39; 60-51; 79-74
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph