Jose Rizal University fired a warning shot Sunday when it stunned defending champion and three-peat seeking Letran College, 85-79, in overtime during the inaugurals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bombers did what it failed to do late in regulation, shutting down the Knights in extra period and putting their title bid in motion.
“It’s all about setting the tone in our first game where we witness our depth,” JRU coach Louie Gonzales said.
Agem Miranda showed the way for the Shaw-based squad by dropping 17 points, the bulk of which coming in OT.
It was also a strong start for a team that is coming out of a sad, unfortunate incident from a season ago that involved John Amores.
Interestingly, Amores himself was there in JRU’s moment of triumph.
“He is still a family, he will always a JRU Bomber,” said Gonzales of his former player, who was recently drafted in the Philippine Basketball Association.
While JRU basked in glory, Letran drowned itself in sorrow as the loss may have served as a portent of things to come for a proud school that lost its former coach and five vital cogs from its championship past.
After gauging each other early, Kurt Reyson and the Knights made their move and erected a 24-16 advantage at the end of the opening period and later a 35-24 edge midway through the second canto.
But things turned sour for the dribblers from Intramuros as Marcus Dionisio starred in a 15-5 blast that enabled Jose Rizal to come within 39-40 entering the second half.