Bombers open NCAA season with OT shocker vs Knights
Jose Rizal University (JRU) started its campaign in the new season of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament the same way it ended last year’s edition: with a victory over defending champion Letran.
Agem Miranda and Marwin Dionisio came up huge in the extra period and finished with 17 points each as the Heavy Bombers stunned the erratic Knights, 85-79, on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
JRU ended last season’s troubled campaign with an 87-71 upset of Letran, but it was a previous encounter during last season that was on top of the Bombers’ minds all game long.
“In the fourth quarter, we thought we won but it was the [game followed the same] course from last season. We were up by three and they sank a triple so when that happened earlier, I got shocked,” said Miranda.
“I said ‘here we go again,’ but when we got to overtime, I thought that can’t happen again. What will happen now should be different. We should win now.”
Last year, Letran took the opening game between both squads in overtime, 101-97.
On Sunday, JRU led, 73-70, before Deo Cuajao sank a game-tying triple which forced overtime with 3.2 ticks to go, much like Kurt Reyson’s shot forced overtime in their first match last season.
This time, the Heavy Bombers stayed with the flow in overtime, beginning the extra period with a Dionisio triple that allowed JRU to dictate the pace until the buzzer.
The Knights were within a point late in the game but Joshua Guiab sank a midrange dagger for an 82-79 lead with 37 seconds to go.
Miranda then made three of his next four free throws to seal the deal.
“This time should be different, it should be us winning now … I needed to step up to lead our team and that’s exactly what happened here,” said Miranda.
Reyson had an all-around game of 18 markers, six boards and four dimes but he also had seven turnovers in the process for Letran, which committed 29 turnovers in the game. INQ