Sidney Onwubere and Francis Munsayac sank the crucial baskets as Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) stunned Jose Rizal University (JRU), 88-84, to return to the top four in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 basketball tournament on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
Onwubere sank a go-ahead triple and Munsayac drove for a layup with 32 seconds remaining as the Generals fought their way from 14 points down in the third period and marched back to No. 4 with an even 6-6 win-loss record.
“I am very thankful for my players. They are doing their very best,” said EAC head coach Ariel Sison, who made key adjustments to notch the comeback win.
“We tried to double on their bigs. The problem that we had was they (opponents) had open three-point shots. So, I just told my players that we don’t have to double anymore,” said Sison.
Team skipper Onwubere fired a game-high 28 points highlighted by four treys aside from collecting eight rebounds, Jerome Garcia racked up 16 markers for the Generals.
Big men Phillip Tampoc and Jeric Diego stepped up with 6-foot-10 Hamadou Laminou on the sidelines as they contributed 11 points apiece and a combined 10 rebounds to help EAC score back-to-back wins following its 85-72 rout of Mapua University.
Jed Mendoza tallied a team-best 22 points, including 10 markers in the fourth quarter, while Teytey Teodoro and Ervin Grospe added 18 and 15 markers, respectively, for the Heavy Bombers.
With the close loss, JRU dropped to 7-6 though it remained at No. 3
Following a close 24-22 contest in favor of the Generals in the opening period, the Bombers broke away as they unleashed a 15-1 run spiked by three triples to post a 37-26 advantage in the second quarter
But EAC answered back with a 10-2 rally capped by Tampoc’s layup, keeping a tight match with JRU only ahead by three, 39-36.
Teodoro drained a shot from beyond the arc to give the Bombers its largest lead at 58-44 midway the third period.
The Generals slowly trimmed down the deficit before Diego and Garcia joined forces to spark a 10-3 run and snatch an 81-80 lead at the 1:24 mark of the final frame.
JRU wasted its next two possessions as veterans Onwubere and Munsayac came up with the huge baskets to seal the big victory for EAC.
Meanwhile, Colegio de San Juan de Letran fended off a late rally as it turned back Arellano University, 84-73, to end a three-game losing skid.
Besides snapping a slide, the Knights joined EAC on No. 4 with an even 6-6 win-loss record.
JP Calvo and Bong Quinto led the Knights with 20 points apiece while veteran guard Rey Nambatac added 14 markers.
Kent Salado’s game-high 23 points went for naught as the Chiefs dropped to No. 8 with a 4-8 slate, putting their Final Four hopes in danger.