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Can Bombers hold off Pirates?


Games today:

(Filoil EcoOil Centre)

 2 p.m. — JRU vs Lyceum

4 p.m. — EAC vs San Sebastian


Host Jose Rizal University and Lyceum of the Philippines University collide today to boost their Final Four chances as the second round of Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament unfolds at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

With both the Heavy Bombers and Pirates sporting identical 6-3 win-loss records, the two sides clash again at 2 p.m. to try and take the solo third in the leaderboard.

The last time these two teams met, JRU barely escaped Lyceum with an 88-87 double overtime win last last 17 October.

The 4 p.m. game of this double header will be an encounter involving Emilio Aguinaldo College and San Sebastian College.

The Generals, who lost to San Beda University, 72-86, last week, plans to start the second round with a win against the Golden Stags.

But eyes will be on JRU as they look to get back into the Final Four after a six-year absence.

Agem Miranda has been a revelation for the Bombers this season as he leads the league in scoring in the first round with an average of 16 points.

The suffocating defense of JRU also became an important factor in its campaign this season as it forced 19.78 turnovers, first in the league, in the first round and only allowed 31.22 bench points in nine games.

JRU assistant coach Alex Callueng said the team’s constant rotation of players should mess up the Pirates.

“There will be mistakes that will be out of our hands. Still, we are having them the benefit of the doubt and let them play,” Callueng said.

“Whenever they make a mistake, they will learn from it. You would hear us from the bench encouraging them to keep playing and follow the system. They will never learn if you keep scolding at them.”

Apart from Miranda, JRU will be leaning on Joshua Guiab, who scored 18 points against Lyceum and Marwin Dionisio, who almost had a double-double output of 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Bombers will be on high alert on Pirate Enoch Valdez, who had a double-double night of 24 points and 14 rebounds before getting fouled out of the game with 45.6 seconds left in overtime.

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