NATE MATUTE delivered the needed offense for a team known for its defense.
Jose Rizal leaned on Matute's torrid shooting to turn back Arellano, 77-65, on Thursday night and remained undefeated in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Matute drilled in six triples en route to a career-high 29 points and steered the Bombers to their second straight win for the solo lead.
Matute, the team captain of JRU, eclipsed his previous career high of 23 all in the second half, when the Bombers built a double-digit lead.
“I need him to be like that every game,” said Bombers coach Vergel Meneses in confirming Matute’s license to shoot.
While it was Matute’s offensive onslaught that gave them the cushion, it was the Bombers’ daunting defense that heavily told on the hapless Chiefs.
After the Chiefs came to within five, 59-54, on a Julius Cadavis basket with seven minutes and 57 seconds remaining in the game, the Bombers employed a full-court press that translated to six straight points for another double digit lead from which Arelllano never recovered.
“Defense is still our best offensive weapon,” Meneses admitted.
The Bombers were actually seeking for payback after the team lost to the Chiefs in the Filoil Flying V Preseason tournament.
“Chinallenge ko ang mga players ko and they responded,” Meneses said.
Nard Pinto had 12 points to lead the Chiefs, who suffered their third straight loss.
JRU (77) -- Matute 29, Lopez 12, Villarias 11, Almario 6, Mabulac 4, Monserat 4, Carampil 4, Salaveria 4, Maconocido 3, Camasura 0, Dela Paz 0, Munez 0, Mendoza 0, Porter 0
AU (65) -- Pinto 12, Acidre 10, Zulueta 8, Cadavis 8, Forrester 7, Hernandez 7, Bangga 5, Caperal 4, Salcedo 4, Valera 0
Quarterscores: 21-17, 38-36, 59-52, 77-65.