Bombers edge Cardinals againBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Dragged into a tight endgame battle, Jose Rizal U proved steadier than Mapua again.
Repeating their first-round feat, the Bombers nipped the Cardinals, 63-60, last night to grab a share of second spot in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Bombers banked on their defense down the stretch, shutting out the Cardinals in the last six minutes to post their eighth win in 11 games and tie idle San Sebastian.
Letran boosted its Final Four hopes with a 62-57 decision over Perpetual Help in the second game to improve to 6-5 behind the 7-4 card of its victim.
The loss, which could have repercussions on Mapua’s Final Four hopes late in the season, was a bitter blow for the Cardinals, who went into the final six minutes holding a 60-54 lead after Kenneth Ighalo buried two free throws to cap a 7-0 burst.
The game closely mirrored the 65-64 victory of the Bombers in the first round.
This time, the Bombers found unlikely heroes in seldom-used forward Ralph Monserate, who hit back-to-back shots, and Ivan Camasura, who nailed a triple with two minutes remaining for the go-ahead basket, 61-60.
The Cardinals were still in the game heading into the last 20 seconds, but guard Andrew Estrella found himself in a crowd of JRU defenders and lost the ball, leading to a fastbreak basket by John Lopez with 12 seconds remaining.
Lopez led all scorers with 17 points. He also grabbed six boards, issued four assists.
Still, the win that was marred by 26 JRU turnovers left Bombers coach Vergel Meneses unimpressed.