The JRU Heavy Bombers weathered a big third quarter from Saint Benilde and bounced back to complete a come-from-behind 77-72 win in the elimination round of Season 88 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Not even a 17-0 run from the Blazers could stop the streaking Heavy Bombers as JRU climbed into a share of the top spot with San Sebastian.
JRU entered the second half armed with the lead but relaxed and enabled Saint Benilde to overtake them at 44-42 on Jonathan Grey’s two free throws. Romnick Mendoza’s basket forced a 44-all deadlock in the ensuing play but a 17-0 rally led by Carlo Lastimosa, Mark Romero and Joel Tolentino gave the Blazers a huge 61-44 lead towards the end of the quarter.
The Heavy Bombers in turn ignited their own 10-0 blast to start the fourth and come back within four, 63-59, behind the efforts of Michael Mabulac, Ronnel Carampil and Rommel Diapera. A 6-0 counter by the Blazers pushed their lead back up to double digits at 69-59 with 5:11 left.
But another 12-0 run by the Heavy Bombers, including a rare four-point play by Byron Villarias, turned things sour for Saint Benilde, sealing the deal for JRU in the last three minutes.
Matute topscored for JRU with 22 markers, five rebounds and three assists with Byron Villarias added 12 points.
The Blazers dropped to 3-5 while the Heavy Bombers are on a three-game roll for a 6-1 slate.
Romero paced the Blazers with 18 while Tolentino and Lastimosa chipped in 13 apiece.
Jose Rizal (77) — Matute 22, Carampil 14, Villarias 12, Lopez 7, Almario 6, Diapera 6, Camasura 4, Mabulac 4, Mendoza 2, Dela Paz 0, Salaveria 0.
St. Benilde (72) — Romero 18, Tolentino 13, Lastimosa 13, Grey 8, Taha 6, Sinco 5, Deles 4, Maconocido 3, Bartolo 2, Garcia 0, Ongteco 0, Tan 0, Altamirano 0.
Quarterscores: 16-23, 40-37, 49-63, 77-72.