NATE Matute sustained his hot shooting, firing a new career-high 30 points to power Jose Rizal University to a 90-79 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College on Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Bombers’ skipper picked up from where he left off last week, when he scored 29 points in a win against Arellano University, in helping the Bombers remain unscathed after three outings and gain the solo lead.
With the Bombers clinging to a four-point lead, 66-62, Matute buried two straight triples, the second with six minutes and six seconds remaining, that put the game out of reach of the Generals, 72-62.
“He’s been carrying us in our first three games,” Bombers coach Vergel Meneses said of his top gun. “I hope he will continue that and keep on improving.”
Matute, who averaged 25 points in his first three games, credits the hot start on his top condition.
The JRU star had a hard time recovering last season from a groin injury that made him missed the Bombers' first four games. He still ended up averaging a team-high-tying 10.7 points per game.
Now perfectly healthy, Matute has shown his true worth.
“This year I want to prove that I’m a different man. This is my last year,” said the senior shooting guard.
Three other players scored in double digits for the Bombers, with Michael Mabulac tallying 14 points, and Decoy Lopez, and Alex Almario with 11 markers apiece.
The Bombers moved the ball well on offense, recording 28 assists compared to just 15 by the Generals.
Jan Jamon scored 20 points to lead EAC, which lost its first game of the season.
Cameroonian import Cedric Noube Happi added 15 points and nine boards for the Generals.
JRU (90) -- Matute 30, Mabulac 14, Lopez 11, Almario11 , Camasura 9, Villarias 4, Dela Paz 4, Carampil 4, Mendoza 2, Monserat 1, Maconocido 0, Salaveria 0, Porter 0.
EAC (79) -- Jamon 20, Happi Noube 15, Tayongtong 15, Munsayac 10, Yaya 8, Chiong 6, Morada 3, Sanchez 2, Paguia 0, Monteclaro 0.
Quarterscores: 22-13, 44-35, 60-57, 90-79.