By Md Moshiur Rahman , sponsored by www.careerbd.net
JOSE RIZAL University outplayed San Sebastian College in overtime, 80-73, yesterday to complete the semifinals cast in the NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
James Sena and Jason Nocom made the big baskets in the extra period, with the former scoring a jumper and the latter nailing a big three-pointer with 2:14 left, giving the Heavy Bombers a 76-71 advantage.
The Heavy Bombers also limited the Stags, who slipped to a 4-7 card, to just two points after regulation play ended in a 71-71 deadlock.
The win, the Heavy Bombers' seventh in 11 games not only towed Mapua into the Final 4 but also gave the hosts the chance for a twice-to-beat incentive in the semifinals - which happen if Letran loses to San Beda College tomorrow and the Bombers beat the Knights in their last game.
Overshadowing the completion of the Final 4 cast was the ferocity displayed by the Red Lions against University of Perpetual Help in the first game despite the absence of main man Yousif Aljamal.
Not wanting to lose their momentum, the Red Lions made their move early en route to a 96-79 win over the Altas.
Tasked to double his effort in the absence of the 6-foot-4 Aljamal, Sam Ekwe obliged and delivered his 10th double-double this season with a career-best 26 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
The win enabled the Red Lions to tighten their grip for the overall lead with a 10-1 record.
But more importantly, the victory gave them the much-needed boost in their game against Letran tomorrow. The Red Lions are hoping to avenge their setback to the Knights in the first round.
"It was a must-win game for us. I told my players before the game not to relax. Without Yousif, we have to work harder. I'm happy with their performance," said SBC mentor Frankie Lim.
San Beda officials decided not to field Aljamal in the remaining elimination games as part of their agreement with the NCAA Policy Board for dropping the court case against the NCAA.
Ekwe, the reigning MVP who shot 12-of-19 from the field, drew solid support from Pong Escobal with 18 points, third year forward Ogie Menor with 15 and rookie guard Chico Tirona with 10.
Rommel Balboa led the Altas, who fell to 3-8, with 19 points while Mike Kong added 14.
SBC 96 - Ekwe 26, Escobal 18, Menor 15, Tirona 10, Hermida 6, Lanete 6, Gamalinda 4, Taganas 4, Marcelo 3, Caram 2, Maggay 2, Taupa 0, Padilla 0.
UPHDS 79 - Balboa 19, Kong 14, Lee 8, Dysam 7, Galabin 6, Manuel 6, Reyes 6, Liaz 5, Ynion 5, Febrian 3, Salanga 0, Mejos 0.
Quarters: 32-21, 54-38, 80-57, 96-79.
SBC 32 22 26 16 - 96
UPHDS 21 17 19 22 - 79
JRU 80 - Sena 18, Cagoco 13, Hayes 11, Pradas 10, Wilson 10, Nocom 9, Cunanan 5, Agas 2, Bulangis 2, Kabigting 0, Se 0, Ramos 0.
SSC 73 - Delgado 17, Viray 12, Bulawan 10, Del Rio 10, Aquino 9, Ballesteros 4, De Leon 4, Najorda 4, Quiamco 3, Raymundo 0, Zulueta 0.
Quarters: 23-12, 31-33, 55-58, 71-71 (Reg.), 80-73 (OT).
JRU 23 08 24 16 09 - 80
SSC 12 21 25 13 02 - 73.