Jose Rizal University (JRU) halted San Beda College’s winning streak, 79-73, on Tuesday, the final day of the first round of National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Guard Paolo Pontejos finished with a season-high 27 points, four assists and three rebounds. He also notched eight crucial points in the fourth quarter to ensure the Heavy Bombers’ win.
“He (Pontejos) responded to the challenge very well,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses of Pontejos.
“I saw the desire of the team to win the game. In previous games, I didn’t see their desire. It was only about finishing the game and not winning it. I always tell them that good defense leads to good offense,” he added.
Pontejos pulled off an important assist to teammate Teytey Teodoro who immediately hit the go-ahead triple resulting in JRU’s 74-73 lead with less than two minutes left.
Abdoulad Poutouochi contributed 14 points, 12 rebounds and three steals also for JRU.
The Heavy Bombers were lagging behind 14-22, after the first quarter but were able to cut the deficit at halftime, 35-37. JRU again lost the momentum late in the third frame, 47-63, but refused to surrender.
JRU was reinvigorated in the fourth quarter outscoring San Beda via 26-7 run, en route to a slim win over the Red Lions.
Despite the loss after nine straight victories, the Red Lions stayed on top of the team standings with an 8-1 win-loss slate.
JRU finished the first round with a 4-5 win-loss record.
“I’m hoping we can bring that intensity to the second round,” said Meneses.
Center Donald Tankoua led San Beda with 28 points plus 15 rebounds while rookie Filipino-American Davon Potts, who was scoreless in the fourth period, posted 11 points.
The last time JRU won against San Beda was in 2014.
Meanwhile, Mapua Institute of Technology beat Colegio San Juan de Letran, 79-75, to finish the first round with a 6-3 win-loss record.
Nigerian behemoth Allwell Oraeme, also last year’s rookie Most Valuable Player, notched 20 points, 20 rebounds and two assists to lead the Cardinals.
Joseph Eriobu had 19 points and 12 rebounds; Darell Menina tallied 17 points while Carlos Isit had nine points also for Mapua.
“I couldn’t hit those shots in the first three quarters but I kept on shooting and finally I made those attempts in the fourth quarter,” said Menina, who scored all 12 points in the fourth quarter.
John Quinto led Letran with 20 points and five rebounds while Jom Sollano had 16 points and Rey Nambatac 13 points.
The reigning champion Knights’ win-loss record dropped to 5-4 after the first round.
In the juniors’ division, San Beda trounced Jose Rizal, 79-69, to join Arellano with an identical 8-1 win-loss record at the top of the standings.