Jose Rizal unleashed its full offensive might to waylay Perpetual Help, 85-52, on Friday to zoom to solo third and gain a little headway for the last two Final Four berths in the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.
With MJ dela Virgen, Cameroonian Abdel Poutouochi and Jed Mendoza eaxing hot, the Bombers came out strong to hack out the emphatic victory that sent them back to solo No. 3 with an 8-6 (win-loss) slate.
JRU also halted a two-game slide while giving the chargers of Vergel Meneses a slight edge over several other teams battling for the last 2 seats in the Final Four.
Lyceum of the Philippines U (14-0) and San Beda (13-1) were the first to book Final Four spots as well the important twice-to-beat edge.
Dela Virgen buried a pair booming triple early to ignite a run that saw Jose Rizal seize a 17-5 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
The power-playing Poutouchi then asserted his might in the third canto when he uncorked a 10-point barrage to hike his team’s lead to 64-39 before dela Virgen and Mendoza conspired for 15 points in the final period to seal the win.
Jose Rizal coach Vergel Meneses, however, said there is nothing to celebrate just yet.
“It’s just one win. We need to win more to make it to the Final Four,” said Meneses.
Nigerian Prince Eze tried to carry the Altas on his broad shoulders by his lonesome and finished with 23 points, 20 boards and three blocks.
But it was not enough to save the Altas from falling to 4-9.
In the second game, Letran rode on Bong Quinto’s career 27-point effort as it overcame Emilio Aguinaldo College, 84-78, to snare its eighth win against seven losses.
The Generals dropped to 6-9.
Jose Rizal 85– dela Virgen 18, Poutouochi 16, Mendoza 12, Grospe 8, David 8, Teodoro 8, Lasquety 6, Adul Razak 5, Bordon 2, Mariano 2, Mate 0, Pontejos 0, Sibangan 0, Sawat 0
Perpetual Help 52– Eze 23, Pido 8, Sadiwa 8, Tamayo 3, Mangalino 3, Hao 3, Coronel 2, Ylagan 2, Dagangon 0, Casas 0, Clemente 0, Singontiko 0, Yuhico 0, Lucente 0
Quarterscores: 17-5; 39-15; 64-39; 85-52
Letran 84- Quinto 27, Nambatac 19, Calvo 16, Balanza 8, Gedaria 5, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 2, Taladua 2, Mendreza 1, Bernabe 0
EAC 78- Onwubere 25, Munsayac 15, Bautista 10, Diego 10, Bugarin 6, Garcia 6, Mendoza, I. 2, Mendoza, J. 2, Tampoc 2, Corilla 0, Neri 0, Pascua 0
Quarterscores: 23-15; 50-34; 72-58; 84-78