JOSE Rizal University has added inside muscle in 6-foot-10 African Abdel Poutouochi to back up Rassak Abdul Wahab in the frontcourt for the 91st NCAA basketball tournament that comes off the wraps on June 27 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
The Heavy Bombers, looking to improve on their semifinal finish last year, also boosted its backcourt by getting back former starting guard Paolo Pontejos back and rookie Mark de la Virgen.
The school topped Group A in a preseason tournament before bowing out, and also ruled the Fr. Martin Summer Cup.
"We lost some key players this year but good thing we got several replacements," said Jose Rizal coach Vergel Meneses referring to bruiser Michael Mabulac and sharpshooter Philip Paniamogan, who have already played out their eligibility.
Pontejos, who was starting two years ago, should be an important part of the rotation although Meneses said he will come off the bench since he will be starting a much-improved Trey Teodoro.
"Pao's return gives the team more flexibility because he will be the sparkplug of our second team," said Meneses.
Poutouochi has boosted Jose Rizal's interior defense, his game resembling that of the 6-foot-8 Abdul Wahab, who was a menacing defensive presence last year and helped the Bombers make it to the round of four.
"Our goal is to make the Final Four first and then we can start thinking of the finals," said Meneses.