Games Thursday(Filoil EcoOil Centre)12 p.m. — CSB vs San Beda3 p.m. — Letran vs LPU
JOSE Rizal University (JRU) came through with one of its best, if not its best, performances this year and caught a mighty Colegio San Juan de Letran side on a surprisingly bad day in hammering out a shock 87-71 victory yesterday that sprayed some sunshine to its gloomy NCAA Season 98 campaign at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.
The Heavy Bombers, already eliminated, looked like the ones who were going to the Final Four as they came out firing on all cylinder with five of their players wound up with double-digit scores including skipper Ry dela Rosa’s game-high 22 points.
The Knights, in contrast, curiously played like helpless preys and were shadows of that unflappable bunch that once racked up nine straight wins.
The embarrassing setback sent the three-peat-seeking squad spiralling down from first to second with a 13-5 record that set it up against No. 3 Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) (12-6) needing just a win to advance to the best-of-three finals.
The other semis showdown pits No. 1 College of St. Benilde (CSB) (14-4) with No. 4 San Beda (12-6) with the former boasting of that crucial incentive.
But Knight’s shocking ineptitude should not take away JRU’s magnificence even on just this one glorious day that served as a soothing balm to a down-trodden team that was shelved for almost a month due to health and safety protocols and got embroiled in that infamous John Amores incident.
“It’s been rough, it’s been tough and I thank everyone who stayed despite what happened,” said a teary-eyed JRU coach Louie Gonzales. And the Heavy Bombers did it with sheer guts and let it all out as if there’s no tomorrow.
“I told the guys if we want to win, we really need to put everything on the table. And they did,” he said.
Earlier, Mapua likewise concluded its campaign with a bang and a 7-11 record after trouncing San Sebastian, 75-67.
The Stags wound up fifth with an 8-10 mark. — Joey Villar
Mapua 75 — Hernandez 22, Nocum 17, Salenga 14, Bonifacio 7, Agustin 5, Cuenco 3, Igliane 3, Pido 2, Soriano 2, Garcia 0, Mercado 0, Gamboa 0, Lacap 0.
San Sebastian 67 — Altamirano 24, Calahat 13, Are 9, Una 8, Aguilar 4, Villapando 2, Sumoda 2, Escobido 2, Suico 2, Paglinawan 0, Concha 0, Cosari 0.
Quarterscores: 6-19; 29-32; 46-51; 75-67
JRU 87 — Dela Rosa 22, Dionisio 16, Guiab 14, Delos Santos 11, Miranda 11, Medina 7, Arenal 2, Celis 2, Abaoag 2, De Jesus 0, Tan 0.
Letran 71 — Caralipio 15, Paraiso 12, Yu 10, Sangalang 7, Monje 7, Tolentino 7, Javillonar 5, Ariar 4, Santos 4, Reyson 0, Olivario 0, Guarino 0, Miclat 0, Lantaya 0, Bautista 0.
Quarterscores: 21-15, 48-38, 66-52, 87-71