JOSE Rizal University clicked on both ends on the floor when it mattered as it blasted Lyceum, 85-71, on Thursday night to move back to first place in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
The Bombers broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter, where they outscored the Pirates, 26-18, to pull away and win their fifth game against a lone loss.
Apart from limiting the Pirates to 37-percent shooting, the Bombers shone on offense and five players scored in double digits.
Byron Villarias led the Bombers’ balanced effort with 15 points, including 13 in the second quarter, on top of seven boards and four assists.
“Maraming hindi nakakapansin sa mga ginagawa niya, pero he’s the most consistent para sa akin,” Bombers coach Vergel Meneses said.
Decoy Lopez, Nate Matute, and Michael Mabulac added 13 markers, while Ronnel Carampil contributed 11 for the Bombers.
The Pirates, who dropped to 2-6, were paced by Chris Cayabyab’s 25 points.
After the Pirates came to within three, 64-61, after a layup by Cayabyab early in the fourth, the Bombers finally put the game away with an 8-0 run highlighted by an alley-oop play from Alex Almario to Lopez, who dunked the ball with authority.
“Nag-pick up na yung offense namin sa fourth,” Meneses said.
The Bombers’ suffocating defense also forced the Pirates to 32 turnovers, six more than what JRU committed.
“We also have to improve on our turnovers,” Meneses said.
“Akala kasi ng mga players ko pag ‘improve’ ibig sabihin damihan kaya siguro marami rin kaming turnovers,” the former pro joked.
JRU 85 – Villarias 15, Lopez 13, Matute 13, Mabulac 13, Carampil 11, Almario 7, Mendoza 4, Salaveria 3, Camasura 2, Dela Paz 2, Porter 2.
LYCEUM 71 – Cayabyab 25, Ko 14, Guevarra 12, Laude 6, Francisco 5, Zamora 4, Azores 3, Ambohot 2, Garcia 0, Alanes 0, Garcia 0, Ala"nes 0, Pascual 0, Mendoza 0, Mallari 0, Martinez 0.
Quarterscores: 18-19; 42-39; 59-53; 85-71.