The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers held their ground in the final period to prevail over the San Beda University Red Lions, 83-80, on Tuesday in the 98th National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil-EcoOil Arena in San Juan.
The Heavy Bombers weathered the Red Lions’ fightback from a 12-point deficit in the last period and relied on Joshua Guiab’s split free throw with seven seconds left and William Sy’s rebound at the four-second mark to seal the deal for the team.
Agem Miranda went on to finish with a game-high 21 points for the Heavy Bombers, who picked up their fourth win in six games.
Coach Louie Gonzales said the team’s effort on defense mattered in their first-ever victory over the Red Lions in six years.
“We know for a fact that this team has a winning culture. A 20-point lead from us, in the middle of game, to a team like them, it will not matter until this game is finished,” said Gonzales as they dealt the Red Lions their second loss in five outings.
The last time the Red Lions tasted defeat at the hands of JRU was in Season 92 when they absorbed a 73-79 setback.
Gabriel Cometa knocked in 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, sinking 10 points in the last two minutes and allowing the Red Lions to come close from 62-74 down to within four in the final two minutes, 77-81.
After Miranda scored a lone charity in the final 1:38, a putback by Red Lion JB Bahio and a freebie from James Kwekuteye saw JRU’s edge dwindle to two in the final minute before Guiab settled the score with his free throw.
John Amores struck with 19 points for JRU, while Mac Dionisio unloaded 16.
Bahio made 19 points for San Beda, which will try to bounce back against the Arellano University Chiefs on Friday.
Meanwhile, the University of Perpetual Help Altas squandered a seven-point lead in the last five minutes but still escaped with a 55-54 triumph over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.
The Altas almost lost the game when Mark Omega turned the ball over in the last 26 seconds, but the Generals bungled a chance to win when Ralph Robin missed a layup with three seconds to go.
Omega tallied 15 points for the Altas, who picked up their fourth win in seven matches.