MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Jose Rizal University (JRU) weathered an inspired performance from CJ Cadua to defend its home court against Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 64-58, in the NCAA Season 95 men's basketball tournament on Thursday afternoon.
With the NCAA on Tour making its stop at the JRU Gym in Mandaluyong, the Heavy Bombers got huge shots from Chester Jungco and Hommer Macatangay in the fourth quarter, allowing them to overhaul a slim lead by the Generals.
The victory hiked JRU's record to 3-4, while handing the Generals their fourth loss in a row. EAC dropped to 1-5 in the tournament.
"Itong game na 'to, it's all about heart," said JRU coach Louie Gonzales. "Hindi sila papayag na matalo lang, especially dito sa home court namin."
Cadua, EAC's diminutive point guard, helped the Generals recover from a 16-point deficit in the second period, 32-16. With him leading the charge, they trailed by just 7 points, 32-25, at the half, and his assist to Jethro Mendoza for a three-pointer knotted the count at 35 with 5:51 to play in the third period.
The Generals even led, 45-38, at the end of the quarter, and appeared headed for an upset on the road.
But their turnovers allowed the Heavy Bombers to catch up quickly, with JRU scoring six quick points to open the fourth period. It turned out to be the start of a 16-2 blast that put the home team in control, 54-47.
A huge three-pointer by Thomas Vasquez gave the Heavy Bombers the lead for good, 49-47, and rookie point guard JL delos Santos capped the run with a step-back triple of his own.
EAC got to within four points, 56-62, after a split at the line by JP Maguliano. But Macatangay responded with back-to-back baskets, and Jungco's lay-up with just under two minutes left gave the Heavy Bombers a 60-52 lead.
JRU cruised to the win from there. Their three wins have already matched their win total from last season.
"I kept telling them na if we play selfish, ganoon talaga -- 'yung lamang namin, mawawala talaga. But if we play unselfish, we play within the system, ganito mangyayari. Kahit sino kalaban, magko-compete kami," said Gonzales.
Making the win all the more impressive is that the Heavy Bombers got it done without Agem Miranda, their top scorer who was suspended for one game following his ejection in their contest against Lyceum of the Philippines University.
John Amores scattered 16 points, while Jungco finished with 12 points. Delos Santos had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Heavy Bombers, who held the Generals without a single field goal in the first quarter of the game.
Marwin Taywan topscored for EAC with 14 points on top of 3 assists and 5 steals, while Cadua finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and a dime. Mendoza added 11 points, but made only 4-of-15 field goals. Maguliano just missed a double-double with 9 points and 17 rebounds.
After trailing 12-4 at the end of the first frame, EAC struck back by outscoring the Heavy Bombers, 21-20, in the second period, and then limited them to just 6 points in the third quarter.
But JRU recovered its form in the fourth period, outscoring EAC, 26-13, to seize the win.
JRU 64 -- Amores 16, Jungco 12, Delos Santos 10, Dela Rosa 8, Vasquez 6, Steinl 4, Macatangay 4, Dionisio 2, Aguilar 2, Arenal 0, Abaoag 0.
EAC 58 -- Taywan 14, Mendoza 11, Cadua 11, Maguliano 9, Gonzales 5, Carlos 4, Gurtiza 2, De Guzman 2, Estacio 0, Luciano 0, Boffa 0, Dayrit 0, Corilla 0, Martin 0, Tampoc 0.
Quarter scores: 12-4, 32-25, 38-45, 64-58.
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