JRU Bombers, Arellano Chiefs collide in another expected grueling NCAA battle
"Suwerte lang kami nung first game," said Jose Rizal coach Vergel Meneses of the Heavy Bombers' triple overtime victory over the Arellano Chiefs in the first round. Dante Peralta

EXPECT another grueling battle between two Final Four contenders in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.

Arellano and Jose Rizal University break a tie for second spot as they face off at 4 p.m.

Both teams engaged each other in a grind-out skirmish in the first round, with the Heavy Bombers outlasting the Chiefs, 99-98, in triple overtime last August 1.

“Baka maging apat (na overtime) siguro ngayon,” Bombers coach Vergel Meneses said with a smile as his team tries to improve its 9-4 win-loss card to inch closer to league-leading San Beda (11-2) -- the same objective being eyed by the Chiefs.

The fiery mentor once again is expected to draw strength from stars Philip Paniamogan and Michael Mabulac after Jaycee Asuncion and Tey Teodoro rescued the Bombers with their clutch baskets during their first encounter.

“Sinuwerte lang kami nung first game. Yung breaks sa amin napunta,” Meneses said. “We cannot afford to think that it will happen again. It will not happen again.”

The Bombers are riding the crest of a three-game winning streak, but face a Chiefs side that is eager to bounce back from a two-game skid that allowed JRU to catch up in the standings.

“They’re a strong and very talented team,” Meneses said of the Chiefs, bannered by Nard Pinto, Jiovani Jalalon, and Dioncee Holts. “It’s teamwork for us again.”

Two other slumping teams in Lyceum (5-8) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (3-10) collide earlier at 2 p.m.

The Pirates and the Generals haven’t won in the second round, losing all their four outings so far.

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