JOSE RIZAL University treated its home fans to a win while boosting its bid for a twice-to-beat advantage quarterfinal round as the Heavy Bombers defeated Erase XFoliant, 74-61, on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JRU gym in Mandaluyong City.
The Heavy Bombers came up with their fourth consecutive win to raise their win-loss record to 5-4, tying Big Chill for fourth place. NLEX leads with a 9-1 record followed by Blackwater at 6-2 and Cagayan Valley at 6-3.
JRU could still gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals if Big Chill loses to Café France on January 29 and the Bombers beat Cebuana Lhuillier on January 31.
The top two teams gain outright semifinal berths, while teams that end up third and fourth get twice-to-beat advantages in the quarterfinals against the squads that finish fifth and sixth.
Although Bombers head coach Vergel Meneses is hoping to get the quarterfinal incentive, he stressed that his wards are playing well enough to overcome a twice-to-win handicap if they wind up fifth or sixth.
“No matter what happens, sa ginaganda ng laro ng mga players, hindi ako natatakot sa ibang teams,” said Meneses.
Dexter Maiquez finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Philip Paniamogan added 13 points for the Heavy Bombers. Jeckster Apinan had 10 points and eight rebounds.
An inspired JRU squad had an 11-2 spurt to open the third period and never looked back against Erase XFoliant, which had former JRU player Nate Matute in the line-up.
The loss spoiled head coach Caloy Garcia’s debut with the Erasers as they fell to a 2-7 win-loss slate.
Kevin Racal led the Erasers with 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while Jett Vidal added 13 markers.
Matute, who has finished his eligibility with the Heavy Bombers, was booed by the JRU crowd and went on to finish with only one point.
JRU (74) – Maiquez 14, Paniamogan 13, Apinan 10, Pinto 9, Villarias 8, Mabulac 7, Almario 4, Miranda 4, Del Rio 3, Caperal 2, Dela Paz 0, Ighalo 0.
Erase XFoliant (61) – Racal 20, Vidal 13, Belorio 10, Allen 7, Najorda 6, Babayemi 2, Stevens 2, Matute 1, Gomez 0, Acidre 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18; 37-31; 63-52; 74-61.