YOU'LL know when a team really lives and dies with its defense when the first thing the coach looks at in the stats sheet is the turnovers department.
Vergel Meneses liked what he saw in the stats sheet as he appeared in the post-game press conference of Jose Rizal University’s 61-49 victory over a depleted Lyceum side on Thursday night in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Meneses found out the Heavy Bombers had just forced the Pirates to 29 turnovers that led to the comfortable win, their fifth in eight games that strengthened their hold of fourth spot.
“It means that we’re playing defense,” said Meneses, known for his scoring and aerial assaults during his playing days who puts a lot of emphasis on defense as a coach. “Our defense dictates everything, that’s why we got easy baskets.”
Paolo Pontejos, Michael Mabulac, and Jordan dela Paz were usually the ones who finished those easy baskets as they scored in double-figures for the Bombers, who pushed the Pirates further down the standings in ninth place with a sixth loss against two wins.
Pontejos fired 16 points built on three triples, while Mabulac registered 14 points and seven boards.
Dela Paz, coming off a career-high 21 points, chipped in 11 points and missed a double-double effort by a rebound.
However, Philip Paniamogan, who started the season strong with his torrid shooting, failed to contribute a single point and played just five minutes for the Bombers, who still led throughout the game.
Shane Ko once again failed to live up to his status as the Pirates’ go-to guy as he went scoreless and commited six turnovers in 25 minutes of play for the his squad, which was already without backcourt partner Dexter Zamora, who was suspended along with Mark Francisco, and Joseph Ambohot.
JRU (61) – Pontejos 16, Mabulac 14, Dela Paz 11, Balagtas 6, Lasquety 5, Juanico 4, Salaveria 2, Grospe 2, Sanchez 1, Paniamogan 0
LPU (49) – Mbomiko 13, Taladua 12, Lacastesantos 9, Lesmoras 6, Mendoza 4, Evangelista 3, Alanes 2, Azores 0, Baltazar 0, Soliman 0, Garcia 0, Ko 0
Quarterscores: 18-13, 31-22, 46-34, 61-49