They say bad luck comes in threes. That pretty much describe how the Blazers fell in today’s game.
The JRU Heavy Bombers had to go through the eye of a needle just to hack out a 73-71 overtime win over this year’s host College of Saint Benilde in their first round meeting in Season 89 action of the NCAA at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
St. Benilde previously dropped their first two assignments by a losing margin of one point. This time around, it was a two-point margin for JRU. The Heavy Bombers are also coming off a heartbreaking 66-69 overtime defeat from the hands of Letran.
In a game that saw nine deadlocks and thirteen leadchanges, the Heavy Bombers had the upperhand in terms of field goal shooting. JRU went 29-of-66 for a 44% shooting clip while the Blazers only made 25 out of 64 attempts for a 39% clip.
It was a close first half of action with the Heavy Bombers ahead by two at the intermission. In the third, back to back baskets by Fons Saavedra pushed the Blazers to a 37-35 lead. Nick Abanto and Gio Lasquety’s six unanswered points momentarily swung the lead back to the Heavy Bombers, 41-37 with over seven minutes left in the quarter.
Mark Romero, Robert Bartolo and Saavedra ignited a 9-0 blast that gave CSB a 46-41 edge. The Heavy Bombers, in the last three minutes of the quarter blitzed their way to a 14-2 run that gave them a seven-point lead at the end of three quarters.
JRU continued their onslaught in the first few minutes of the fourth when Paolo Pontejos and Schev Benavides opened the fourt with a 6-0 run, giving the Heavy Bombers their biggest lead in the game at 14, 61-47 with 7:16 remaining.
St. Benilde behind Bartolo muscled their way to an 11-0 run, making it just a three-point game
“Nakahabol sila because of our errors. when we were up by 14, we were playing just to protect the lead. We played relaxed basketball. Kaya I’ll always remind them to play smarter kahit lamang ng malaki, we must still attack.” Said fourth year JRU head coach Vergel Meneses.
With 39 ticks left, Bartolo, off a foul from Nick Abanto completed a three-point play, tying the count at 61-all.
Both teams failed to convert on their respective ends, sending the game into overtime.
Michael Mabulac opened the extra period with a basket for the Heavy Bombers. It was answered right away by Saavadra, forcing another deadlock at 63-all. A 6-0 spurt by JRU gave the Shaw quintet a comfortable 69-63 cushion with three minutes remaining. St. Benilde’s Paolo Taha fired away four straight points, making it just a two-point game for JRU, 67-69 with 2:30 left.
A conversion from Dela Paz with eighty five seconds remaining once again extended JRU’s lead up to four, 67-71.
Mark Romero canned two charities off a foul from Jerome Juanico with 1:08 left trimmed down their lead to just two 69-71. Following a Benavides turnover, Romero again had another conversion that tied that at 71-all with 28 ticks left.
Split charities from Dela Paz and Pontejos in the dying seconds of the game paved the way for JRU’s second win in four outings.
“Philip [Paniamogan] is trying so hard sa depensa. Ayoko magkaroon sya ng mismatch so I used Benavides and Juanico for defense.”
“Hindi ko pinagsasabay si end game si Pontejos and Paniamogan dahil wala akong offensive threat pagdating sa end game.” added Meneses.
Pontejos and Paniamogan again led the scoring charge for the Heavy Bombers with a combined 34 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
On yet another losing cause, Romero and Saavedra paced the Blazers with 17 and 15 respective. Bartolo had a double double game of 10 points and ten boards but it was not enough to hand this year’s host their first win.
|Jose Rizal University
||College of Saint Benilde
Dela Paz -7
Quarters: 17-17, 35-33, 55-47, 61-61(reg), 73-71 (OT)