Matute fires 29 points as JRU deals Arellano its third lossBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Nate Matute exploded for 29 points and stirred Jose Rizal University to 77-65 win over a befuddled Arellano Thursday night to go up 2-0 in the 88th NCAA Men’s basketball competition.
Matute, eclipsing his previous career high, torched the Chiefs with 17 huge points in the third quarter alone by unleashing four of his six triples.
“I need him to play like that every game,” said head coach Vergel Meneses of his trusty scorer who’s playing his last year with JRU.
A five-point swing courtesy of Matute capped his domination and gave the Bombers their biggest lead of the night at 13 points with a minute and half to play.
JRU seized solo lead early in the competition after the win, despite turning the ball seven times, 25-18, more than the Arellano.
But they made their shots, and defended the competition well–forcing Arellano’s John Pinto to 3-of-14 shooting while Rocky Acidre and Vergel Zulueta to a combined 18 points only.
While the Bombers are off to a flawless start, the Chiefs remain in search of their first win in three starts — as if still unable to recover from a stunning defeat in the hands of a six-man San Beda.
Arellano didn’t go down swinging, though, as it remained relentless in attacking the basket, but was never able to stop Matute from scoring.
Despite a whopping advantage in the freethrow attempts, trooping to the line 33 times compared to JRU’s nine, the Chiefs simply couldn’t take over the driver’s seat all game long.
Arellano could stop the bleeding next game, but it has to triumph over contender Letran to finally notch that first victory.