JOSE Rizal University clinched a playoff for a Final Four berth on Friday as the Heavy Bombers routed San Sebastian Stags, 91-69, in the NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Paolo Pontejos had 23 points including 12 in the second period in the wire-to-wire win by the Heavy Bombers, who won their sixth straight game and assured themselves of either a playoff or a stepladder match in the heated race for a Final Four berth.
Fighting for their lives since the start of their winning streak, the Heavy Bombers prevented another San Sebastian upset following the Stags’ stunning win over fancied teams San Beda, Letran, and Perpetual Help this season.
“We have to be ready. Every game, since our first game nung nag-start ‘yung run namin, ‘yun ang sabi ko sa kanila,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
“Nakita ko ‘yung effort nila especially on defense. More effort, more chances of winning,” Meneses said.
After posting a 43-38 lead after Pontejos’ second quarter explosion, JRU was not seriously threatened the rest of the way.
The Heavy Bombers also got 11 points from rookie Darius Estrella and 16 rebounds from Abdoul Poutouochi.
The Heavy Bombers, who made 46 percent of their shots, also limited the Stags to just 38 percent from the field.
Bradwyn Guinto had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his final game with the Stags as he sets his sight on turning pro next year.
JRU (91) - Pontejos 23, Estrella 11, Balagtas 8, Lasquety 6, Cruz 6, Teodoro 6, Grospe 6, Sanchez 5, Poutouochi 5, Abdul Wahab 4, Dela Paz 3, Dela Virgen 3, David 3, Astilla 2, Aurin 0.
San Sebastian (69) - Guinto 14, Calisaan 13, Ortuoste 10, Bulanadi 7, Pretta 6, Sibal 5, Santos 4, Fabian 4, Costelo 3, Capobres 3, Bragais 0, Alvarez 0.
Quarterscores: 23-17; 43-38; 68-56; 91-69.