LYCEUM bucked a late collapse before turning to Dexter Zamora to eke out a 73-72 victory over Jose Rizal University on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan and give the school something to cheer about after recently getting eliminated from playoff contention in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Zamora, a third-year combo guard from Bukidnon, fired all his 10 points in the fourth quarter, the last two turning out to be the go-ahead basket that rewarded the Pirates only their sixth win in 16 games this season.
With less than six ticks left and the Pirates down by two, Zamora took the inbounds pass, ran the length of the court, and then scored the floater that beat the buzzer and sent the Lyceum gallery into delirium.
“Sabi ko kailangan ko ’tong i-finish strong kasi wala na,” Zamora said. “Pero si God talaga and director ng shot na yun, kaya to God be the glory.”
The Pirates, who squandered a 13-point third quarter lead, tied their victims in the standings in seventh place and eliminated them from playoff contention.
Lyceum are also just a win away from matching its win total two years ago when it finished with a 7-11 win-loss slate, its best record since joining the league.
“That’s our modest goal kahit hindi kami nakapasok ng Final Four,” Pirates coach Bonnie Tan said.
The Bombers erased a 39-52 deficit midway through the third quarter and turned the game around behind Michael Mabulac, Philip Paniamogan, and Nick Abanto, who combined for all but four of their 24 points in the payoff period.
JRU last tasted the lead at 72-71 after two free throws from Jordan Dela Paz with 5.8 seconds left in a play that set the stage for Zamora’s clutch play.
LPU (73) – Ko 13, Mbomiko 12, Zamora 10, Mendoza 8, Baltazar 8, Ambohot 8, Taladua 7, Francisco 5, Lesmoras 2, Azores 0, Soliman 0, Evangelista 0.
JRU (72) – Mabulac 17, Benavides 16, Paniamogan 14, Abanto 10, Juanico 5, Lasquety 4, Dela Paz 4, Salaveria 2, Pontejos 0, Balagtas 0, Sanchez 0.
Quarterscores: 20-12; 39-31; 56-48; 73-72.