JRU's Philip Paniamogan attempts to dribble past an Arellano defender. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – A resurgent Jose Rizal University (JRU) will aim to come out of a tie for third place as it clashes with a fast-improving Mapua team Monday afternoon in the NCAA Season 90 men's basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
After a shaky start to the season, the Bombers have racked up three straight wins to improve to 5-3, tied with Perpetual Help for third place. Another win in their 4 p.m. showdown with the Cardinals will send them to solo third and leave behind the idle Altas.
The San Beda Red Lions (7-1) and the Arellano Chiefs (7-2) currently lead the league.
JRU leaned on a double-digit cushion to fend off a furious fightback by Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) en route to an 81-79 win for its third straight victory that should give it momentum entering its showdown with Mapua.
But Bombers coach Vergel Meneses was quick to caution his boys against a Mapua team that is playing surprisingly well despite a league-worst 1-7 mark.
"We can't underestimate any team in this league, especially Mapua, which has really improved a lot," said Meneses.
Bernabe Teodoro, a 20-year-old rookie out of Fatima High, starred in his team's win over EAC by sparking a run that gave them a 13-point lead, their biggest of the game, in the third quarter.
During that stretch, Teodoro scored eight of his 14 points highlighted by a triplke for a 66-53 lead with less than a minute to go in the third quarter.
"If he stays aggressive even in practice, he'll go places," Meneses said of Teodoro.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian (3-5) and EAC (2-6) clash at 2 p.m. seeking to improve their stocks.