JOSE Rizal University is carving a reputation as the king of close battles in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Dragged into another tight match, the Heavy Bombers weathered a late scare by Emilio Aguinaldo College to score an 81-79 victory on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
Philip Paniamogan and Jaycee Asuncion led the Bombers in scoring, but it was rookie Tey Teodoro who keyed a third-quarter run and buried the clutch free throws down the stretch when the Generals made a last push.
As a result, the Bombers survived their third straight close game after nipping Perpetual Help, 62-61, and outlasting Arellano, 99-98, in triple overtime.
“We’re starting to develop our composure,” Bombers coach Vergel Meneses said as his team improved to a 5-3 win-loss card to gain a provisional hold of third spot. “What we need to develop now is the killer’s instinct.”
After all, the Bombers allowed to Generals to claw back from a double-digit deficit and momentarily take the lead, before folding en route to a sixth loss in eight games.
With the offense clicking alongside their trademark defense, the Bombers broke the game open in the third quarter, where they outscored the Generals, 28-12, to turn a six-point halftime deficit into a 10-point lead heading into the final frame.
Teodoro scored eight of his 14 points in the span, including a late triple that gave the Bombers their biggest lead at 66-53.
The Generals, however, managed to claw back behind John Tayongtong, who fired 10 of his game-high 21 points in the payoff period. The senior playmaker made a tough fade-away jumper that kissed the glass to give EAC a 76-75 lead with one minute and 40 seconds to go.
But Tayongtong also wound up costing the Generals the game, missing a contested potential-game winning running triple with still over three seconds remaining.
JRU 81 – Paniamogan 18, Asuncion 15, Teodoro 14, Sanchez 11, Mabulac 8, Grospe 6, Abdul Wahab 4, Benavides 3, Salaveria 2
EAC 79 – Tayongtong 21, Happi 12, Arquero 12, Onwubere 11, Aguilar 10, Serrano 5, Santos 4, Jamon 4, Pascual 0
Quarterscores: 18-24, 38-44, 66-56, 81-79