JOSE Rizal University averted a late meltdown to put one foot into the Final Four of the NCAA Season 93 with a crucial 60-58 win over San Sebastian on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The win pushed the Heavy Bombers to a 10-6 record and is now assured of at least a playoff for a spot in the semifinals.
Abdoul Poutouchi drained two pressure packed free throws with 29.5 seconds to go to put the Heavy Bombers ahead for good, 59-58.
Ryan Costelo had a chance to win the game for the Heavy Bombers but his floater rattled out, forcing the Stags to foul Jed Mendoza.
Mendoza knocked down one of two freebies and left the window open for the Stags to win or send the game into overtime, but Michael Calisaan missed the potential game-tying shot much to the delight of the partisan JRU crowd.
The loss dropped the Stags to 7-8, one game behind the fourth running Letran Knights at 8-7.
"Well, composure. Yung composure, they got back the lead and we got a basket. Yung last two, we made good stops," said JRU head coach Vergel Meneses.
"Siguro yung mga players ko they want to prove something that they belong in this league. Kumbaga wala akong masasabi. They still fight," he added.
It was almost a wasted game for JRU when San Sebastian embarked on an 8-1 run capped by a JM Calma floater, but that only set the stage for Poutouchi's heroics.
"When I stepped up in the free throw line, I was just thinking of JRU and for my team," Poutouchi said.
Mendoza and Ervin Grospe paced the Heavy Bombers with 14 apiece as Tey Teodoro added 11. Poutouchi finished with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Calisaan led the Stags with 15 points and 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
QUARTERSCORES: 22-17, 33-30, 46-45, 60-58