JET Vidal had just proven who the best shooter in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is right now.
In a match-up between of two of the league’s top gunners, Vidal outduelled Nate Matute to lead University of Perpetual Help past Jose Rizal University, 88-72, on Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.
Of the two, the 24-year-old Vidal obviously had the hot hands, pumping in a career-high 32 points on an impressive 9-of-16 shooting as the Altas defused the Bombers and tied their victims in third spot with an 8-4 record.
Matute also came up with a decent scoring performance with 16 points, but needed 19 attempts for his total output.
In the post-game interview, Vidal downplayed the scoring duel with Matute, and focused instead on his desire to lead the Altas to their first-ever Final Four appearance in eight years.
“Hindi ko na iniisip yun,” said Vidal, who fired 20 in the second half when the Altas maintained a double-digit lead. “Basta last year ko na at gusto ko lang maganda ang exit ko.”
The Altas led the Bombers from start to finish as they gave their fellow Final Four aspirants a taste of their own medicine.
Employing a full-court press, the Altas forced the Bombers to 27 turnovers which they translated to a season-high 40 points.
Prior to the game, the Las Piñas-based squad averages just 10.5 turnover points per outing.
“Nabaliktad nga eh,” said Altas coach Aric del Rosario, whose boys avenged their 59-64 loss to the Bombers in the first round. “Sinubukan lang naming mag-press at maganda naman ang naging resulta.”
UPH (88) -- Vidal 32, Thompson 13, Allen 12, Omorogbe 9, Alano 7, Babayemi 6, Elopre 5, Paulino 4, Jolangcob 0, Arboleda 0.
JRU (72) -- Matute 16, Lopez 14, Carampil 12, Villarias 8, Camasura 6, Almario 4, Mabulac 4, Dela Paz 3, Diapera 3, Mendoza 2, Maconocido 0, Salaveria 0
Quarterscores: 23-18, 42-32, 65-52, 88-72.