JRU punches Final 4 ticket
In cruise control for most of the game, the Heavy Bombers avoided complications with a narrow 62-58 victory over the Mapua Cardinals, leaving Letran, Arellano, San Sebastian and Emilio Aguinaldo College to fight it out for the remaining Final Four berth.
The win improved the Bombers’ record to 11-6, assuring them of third spot at the end of the elimination round.
But the Chiefs blew the race for the remaining Final Four spot open after turning back the San Sebastian Stags, 85-79, in the second game.
While Letran still has the inside track for the last postseason berth with an 8-8 record, Arellano’s win forged a tie at fifth spot with San Sebastian at 7-9.
Emilio Aguinaldo College remains in contention with a 6-10 record, but the Generals have to win their remaining games while hoping that no other contender goes beyond nine wins.
“We just didn’t want to leave our fate in the hands of other teams,” said coach Vergel Meneses as the Bombers entered the Final Four for the fifth time in seven seasons.
Tey Teodoro finished with 19 points, before limping off in the last two minutes due to an ankle injury, while Jed Mendoza added 10 points, including a couple of key baskets in the final period that helped put away the Cardinals.
The Chiefs refused to let up in the final period even after losing top playmaker Kent Salado due to a knee injury midway in the last quarter.
Salado fired 22 points, before leaving the game.
“With what happened today, I need to play for us to have a chance in the Final Four,” said Salado.
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