Bombers blow big lead, but hold on to beat Lions
No amount of past glory was going to stand in the way of Jose Rizal University (JRU) on Tuesday. Not even a rich championship pedigree the likes of which San Beda boasts.
“We know for a fact that they have a winning culture and the only way to beat a team like that is to play solidly together,’’ said coach Louie Gonzalez after his Bombers caged the Lions, 83-80, on Tuesday at the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Bombers strafed the Lions early and then weathered San Beda’s late charge to tie their foes at 4-1 (win-loss)
“We had a 20-point lead in the middle of the game, but a team like San Beda can always get back. The only time you can feel safe is when you’ve actually won it,’’ Gonzalez said.
Agem Miranda scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half and John Amores contributed 19 points for the Bombers.
Behind by a wide margin at the half, the Lions came out of the Filoil EcoOil Arena dugout an entirely different squad, sharing the leather better while collectively clamping down on JRU’s shooting options.
The Lions finally pulled within arm’s reach on James Kwekuteye’s split free throws, 82-80, but JB Bahio and Kwekuteye flubbed successive attempts that could have sent the game in extra time.
“It’s been proven that every time we play harmoniously as a team, positive things happen. This should be the JRU brand of basketball. But once we think only of ourselves, the lead that we built gets wiped out right away,’’ said Gonzalez.
Perpetual Help outlasted Emilio Aguinaldo College, 55-54, in the other game for its fourth win in seven outings.
Mark Omega had 15 points and 11 boards for the Altas, who survived the enemy’s spirited foray after the Generals shot themselves in the foot.
Ralph Robin missed two crucial free throws with 37 seconds remaining that would have afforded the Generals a one-point lead and a chance to resuscitate their sagging fortunes. So far, the Generals have lost all their six games. INQ