JRU stops slide, ties Perpetual, Letran in standingsBy Mark C. Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Jose Rizal University finally put a stop on its skid following a crucial 62-56 win over College of St. Benilde Monday night in the NCAA Season 88 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan city.
Big men John Lopez and Michael Mabulac combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds to end the Heavy Bombers’ three-game tailspin.
The win also kept JRU in Final Four position as it tied Letran and Perpetual Help in third place with a 9-6 record.
“I hope their confidence goes up after this win,” said JRU head coach Vergel Meneses. “I also told them not to rely on other teams and take it upon ourselves for us to make it to the final four.”
Nate Matute struggled most of the game before somehow coming through in the final frame.
Matute made a free throw to make it a two-possession game, 58-54, with 1:02 left.
Carlo Lastimosa traveled before Mabulac made four straight points to seal the win.
Lastimosa led the Blazers, who dropped to 4-11, with 15 points but had six errors.
The Heavy Bombers had trouble shaking off the pesky Blazers and it will only get tougher as the race toward the Final Four tightens up.
JRU will wrap up the elimination round with two of its last three games against San Sebastian and Letran.
And the Bombers will have to make do without their veteran point guard Alex Almario, who’s out for the season due to a rheumatic heart disease.
Lopez and Mabulac had 16 points each. Mabulac added 11 rebounds.