Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), Jose Rizal University (JRU) and Colegio San Juan de Letran run over their respective foes on Friday in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Generals, through a strong fourth quarter finish, pummeled the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates 73-66 . Despite a back-to-back win, they can no longer enter the Final Four.
“I told my players that we cannot think so much of entering the Final Four at this stage. All we can think about is winning our remaining games, which I’m glad it happened today again. Mathematically, we’re out because we only have four or five games left while Mapua which is running fourth place is holding eight wins against five losses. Even if we sweep all our remaining games, there’s still no chance for us,” EAC coach Ariel Sison told The Manila Times.
The Generals improved their win-loss record to 5-9 and are now tied with the Pirates in the seventh and eighth places. “Our goal today is to show our community that we’re fighting and we’re winning whatever happens this season. Next year, I’ll set up a higher goal maybe reaching the Final Four.”
Hamadou Laminou posted 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while Sidney Onwubere notched 16 points plus 10 rebounds to lead the Generals.
EAC’s Francis Munsayac scored 11 of his 15 points in the payoff canto; Adrian Alban had 18 points while Mike Nzeusseu posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds for Lyceum.
The Generals opened the game with a 21-8 lead and stretched it to 35-24 at halftime. The Pirates closed the gap in the second half, scoring 23 against 11 of the Generals en route to a 47-46 advantage during the fourth quarter.
But EAC pulled off a 27-19 run to snatch the win.
In the first game, the Heavy Bombers banked on a strong second half charge to win 71-63 over the College of Saint Benilde Blazers. JRU, with an improved 8-6 win-loss record has now a brighter chance of entering the Final Four.
Center Abdoulad Poutouochi tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Paolo Pontejos also had 14 points while Teytey Teodoro contributed 11 points also for the Heavy Bombers.
“We want to win four more games and I believe that’s achievable. Just one game at a time,” JRU coach Vergel Meneses said.
Forward Yankie Haruna led the Blazers with 14 points and eight rebounds but Saint Benilde remains winless in 14 games.
Meanwhile, the reigning champion Letran Knights notched a back-to-back win by outlasting San Sebastian College, 73-61. The team is now No.6 with a 7-7 win-loss record. Swingman Rey Nambatac and John Calvo finished with 16 points apiece to lead the Knights.
The Knights clobbered the Golden Stags in the second period resulting in a 36-28 lead at the half. They sustained the onslaught the whole game denying their rivals any chance of recovery.
San Sebastian’s winning streak was stopped at four for 5-10 win-loss record.
Michael Calisaan led San Sebastian with 24 points and nine rebounds.
JOSEF T. RAMOS