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Hot Bombers tame Red Lions

Games today:
(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
12 p.m. — Mapua vs Saint Benilde
3 p.m. — Letran vs San Sebastian

Jose Rizal University averted a late-game meltdown to eke out an 83-80 escape of San Beda University in Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Agem Miranda came through with 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting clip for the Heavy Bombers, who are on a roll after winning their last four matches.

John Amores scored 19 points off the bench with two rebounds and two assists while Marwin Dionisio dropped 16 markers for JRU, which grabbed the third spot behind leaders College of Saint Benilde and Lyceum of the Philippines University who are tied at 5-1.

JRU head coach Louie Gonzales admitted that beating a powerhouse team like Sa Beda wasn’t easy so he had to remind his wards not to be complacent when the game is on the line.

“We know for a fact that San Beda has a winning culture. Having a lead in the middle of the game against that team won’t matter until the game ends,” Gonzales, whose wards enjoyed a 20-point lead in the first half, said.

“I asked my players, ‘Are we doing what we’re supposed to do when we are playing?’ The moment my players started thinking for themselves, the opponent catches up.”

True enough, the Heavy Bombers refused to put their guard down until the final buzzer.

Trailing by six points in the final 2:54 mark, the Red Lions waged an 8-2 rally capped by a free throw from James Kwekuteye to trim the gap to two, 82-80, with barely a minute left.

The Lions had a chance to steal the win, but JB Bahio and Kwekuteye muffed their potential game-tying shots before watching Joshua Guiab seal the victory from the charity stripe.

Bahio fired a double-double game of 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Lions, who are now tied with JRU with a 4-2 win-loss card.

Meanwhile, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta survived a late challenge from Emilio Aguinaldo College, 55-54, to notch its fouth win.

Ralph Robin failed to convert the game-winning layup with 2.5 seconds left that kept the Generals winless in six games.

Mark Omega led the Altas with a double-double performance of 15 points and 11 rebounds while Rey Barcuma added 10 markers for Perpetual, which tallied a 4-3 win-loss card.

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