With its new and improved backcourt leading the way, Jose Rizal University has one foot in the playoff door in the NCAA 93 men’s basketball tournament.
Jed Mendoza poured 6 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, Teytey Teodoro again brought the big baskets, and the Heavy Bombers just had enough to stop oncoming San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 60-58, at Filoil Flying V Centre on Friday.
With the win, Vergel Meneses’ wards are assured of at least a playoff for a Final Four berth.
“Iyong mga players ko, they want to prove that they belong in this league,” the head coach said after JRU improved to 10-6 — still solo third-place.
Making it happen was Cameroonian Abdel Poutouochi who coolly converted a couple of charities to overturn a 1-point deficit to a 1-point advantage with 29.5 ticks to go.
“Iyong composure namin, nandun kanina. They got the lead then we got the basket,” Meneses said.
The Golden Stags had a golden opportunity to take back the lead only to see Ryan Costelo split his defenders and shoot a runner that hit the back of the ring.
Mendoza’s split from the stripe and Michael Calisaan’s botched reverse layup later and JRU sealed the deal for its third win in a row. “Tapos iyong last two (possessions), we had a good stop,” the head coach said.
Teodoro wound up with 11 points, including a booming triple that gave his team some separation in the last five minutes. Ervin Grospe also contributed 14 points of his own.
The Heavy Bombers need one more win to officially book a playoff ticket and they will try to do just that next Tuesday against Mapua University.
Without a doubt, this is already an improvement from their 9-9 finish last season, which had them out of the playoff picture.
On the other hand, Baste needs to win its remaining three assignments to have a shot at the Final Four.
Calisaan was the lone double-digit scorer for them with 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
JRU 60 – Grospe 14, Mendoza 14, Teodoro 11, Poutouochi 10, Sawat 6, Dela Virgen 3, Abdul Razak 2, Lasquety 0, David 0
SAN SEBASTIAN 58 – Calisaan 15, Bulanadi 9, Calma 9, Ilagan 8, David 7, Navarro 3, Costelo 2, Baetiong 2, Capobres 2, Mercado 1, Gayosa 0, Are 0
QUARTER SCORES: 22-17, 33-30, 46-45, 60-58
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