JRU Bombers oust spent Mapua Cardinals
Letran Knights also eliminate CSB BlazersBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The race for the last Final Four berth became a two-way fight as Letran and Jose Rizal University eliminated two other hopefuls Monday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Letran boosted its bid for the semifinal bonus with a 72-60 triumph that ended St. Benilde’s Final Four hopes at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
JRU also zeroed in on the fourth spot as the Bombers pulled off a 78-64 rout that also ousted the Mapua Cardinals, who played minus 6-foot-8 Filipino-Palestininan Yousef Taha.
At 8-9, the Bombers have to contend only with idle Lyceum (6-10) as teams with 11 losses lost their chance of advancing to the next round.
Mapua bowed out with a 7-11 record while the Blazers fell to 5-11.
San Sebastian (15-1), San Beda (14-2) and Letran (13-3) have already secured Final Four berths, but they remained in a tight race for the twice-to-beat bonus, the incentive given to the top two teams at the end of the eliminations.
Alex Almario and Raycon Kabigting got the Bombers off to a 27-13 start, a lead that ballooned to 20 points in the second half, 65-45.
“We knew we needed to outrun Mapua,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
Allan Mangahas carried the scoring load with 22 points for the Cardinals, who played minus Taha due to “disciplinary reasons.”
If Lyceum loses to league leader San Sebastian tomorrow, the Bombers will earn the fourth and last semifinal berth outright.
LETRAN 72—Alas Ke. 16, Cortes 12, Cruz 11, Espiritu 10, Belorio 7, Dysam 6, Racal 4, Alas Kr. 4, Almazan 2, Mendoza 0, Lituania 0, Gabriel 0.
ST. BENILDE 60—Taha 18, Lastimosa 11, Grey 10, Sinco 9, Carlos 4, Tan 4, Altamirano 2, Deles 1, McCoy 1, Pate 0, Dela Paz 0.
Quarters: 16-5, 28-19, 47-45, 72-60
JRU 78—Almario 17, Kabigting 13, Villarias 12, Matute 12, Monserat 9, Apinan 6, Lopez 5, Montemayor 4, Paniamogan 0, Mendoza 0.
MAPUA 64—Mangahas 22, Nimes 9, Sarangay 8, Ighalo 6, Banal 6, Parala 5, Stevens 4, Ranises 3, Chien 1, Cantos 0.
Quarters: 17-11, 31-25, 53-39, 78-64