Bombers stay alive in Final Four race

Jose Rizal University’s Final Four hopes stay alive.

Showing steely nerves in the crunch, the Heavy Bombers overcame a fiery second-half fightback by favored San Sebastian College to carve out an 84-72 victory Thursday that kept JRU in the hunt for the semis in the NCAA Season 88 seniors’ basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

On the verge of a complete meltdown, John Lopez, Byron Villarias and Romnick Mendoza provided the goods as the Heavy Bombers dropped a decisive 8-2 finishing kick to hold off the surging Golden Stags, who pulled within 72-74.

Not only did the victory jack up its record to 10-7–just half-a-game adrift of idle Letran and Perpetual Help, JRU also derailed San Sebastian’s entry to the semis, dropping the Stags to 11-5 while giving the Red Lions the top seed in the Final Four with a 14-2 card.

“My boys showed their composure even though we were only up by two points late in the fourth quarter,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses, who finally put one over the Stags in six tries since calling the shots for the Bombers in 2009.

Showing up with fire in their eyes, the Heavy Bombers surged to a commanding 42-18 lead midway in the second canto before the Stags buckled down to work.

Showing they’ve seen enough, the Stags steadily chopped away the Bombers’ lead, with Sangalang clustered six points in a 12-1 surge that moved them within 30-43. JRU answered back with a 13-6 counter-run to gain a whopping 56-36 cushion at the break.

A non-factor in the first half, Calvin Abueva went berserk in the second, pumping in 20 of his team-best 26 points plus 20 boards but those went for naught for the SSC.

Earlier, Arellano University turned back tailender Lyceum 58-49 in a battle of eliminated teams, with James Forrester leading the way.

A Fil-Canadian, Forrester came up big with 24 points–including five triples–on top of seven rebounds as the Chiefs bounced back from a 75-82 defeat inflicted by San Beda last Sept. 20 and improved their record to 6-10.

Shane Ko tallied 22 points while Dexter Zamora added 11 points for Lyceum, which dropped to 3-14.

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