Jose Rizal University rallied from a double-digit deficit late in the third quarter to deal San Beda its first loss, 79-73, yesterday in NCAA men’s basketball at The Arena in San Juan.
The Bombers leaned on spitfire Paolo Pontejos to turn back the Red Lions and finish the first-round elimination with four wins against five losses.
Pontejos exploded with 27 points highlighted by five triples as JRU crawled back from a 66-53 third-quarter deficit.
“Puso na yung nagdala sa amin nung fourth quarter. Hindi kami sumuko,” said Pontejos, who came into the game with a nine-point average in their previous matches.
Pontejos also grabbed three rebounds and dished off four assists.
A corner triple from Teytey Teodoro pushed the Bombers to a 74-73 lead in the last 1:48.
Attempts from Davon Potts, Robert Bolick and Dan Sara to preserve the advantage proved futile as San Beda struggled with its 3-of-20 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Worse, the Red Lions were limited to only seven points in the final period and missed all their perimeter shots after 11 attempts.
It was a stinging loss for the Red Lions, who were invincible in their previous eight games. Still, San Beda remained on top with its 8-1 mark behind closest pursuers Arellano and University of Perpetual Help (7-2).
Abdoulad Poutouochi also stepped up for JRU with a double-double effort of 14 points and 12 rebounds, even as Teodoro chipped in 14 points.
JRU 79 – Pontejos 27, Poutouochi 14, Teodoro 14, Grospe 9, Dela Virgen 5, Lasquety 4, Cruz 4, AbdulWahab 2, Dela Paz 0, Mendoza 0.
SAN BEDA 73 – Tankoua 28, Potts 11, Soberano 7, Bolick 6, Mocon 6, Noah 6, Optana 4, Tongco 2, Sara 2, Presbitero 1, Alas 0, Bonsubre 0, Navarro 0.
Quarters: 14-22; 21-37; 53-66; 79-73.