Jose Rizal U gunner Teytey Teodoro completed in overtime what he failed to do during the regulation.
The lefty Teodoro did exactly what coach Vergel Meneses expected from him on Tuesday night as resurgent JRU outlasted defending champion Letran in overtime 75-68, to sustain its steady climb in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
After turning the ball over in what could have been their game-winning play in regulation, Teodoro took charge in the extra five minutes, knocking down eight of his game-high 23 points, including a pair of big buckets over Knights star Rey Nambatac to seal JRU’s win.
Aside from avenging a 62-67 defeat in their initial meeting last July 28, JRU notched its third straight victory and sixth overall in 11 matches to occupy the fifth spot.
On the other hand, Letran dropped its fourth straight game for a 5-6 mark, staying in a tie with Lyceum from sixth to seventh.
“Before overtime, nagka-bad decision ako, nag-error ako. Ch-in-allenge ako ni coach Vergel na dapat tinira ko ‘yun. Kaya pagdating ng overtime, talagang tumira na ako,” said Teodoro, who also added four rebounds and a pair of assists.
Meneses, a former MVP in the pro league, admitted he got frustrated when Teodoro failed to deliver in regulation.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanya, hindi siya ‘yun. Fan tayo nito kaya nasa akin ‘yan,” he said.
Cameroon big man Abdoulad Poutouochi also came up big for the Heavy Bombers with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
He knocked down a pair of buckets inside that allowed JRU to erase a 62-66 deficit early in overtime before Teodoro, Mark Dela Virgen and Gio Lasquety stepped up to hold off the Knights.
“We should play smart basketball during crunch time,” noted Meneses, adding he’s glad to see his wards rise to the occasion.
“China-challenge ko sila at sinasabihan ko ng hindi maganda. But they prove me wrong,” he added. “‘Yun naman ang gusto ko mangyari. Mahirap na ako ang tama.”
Nambatac tallied a team-high 19 points for the Knights but struggled against the Heavy Bombers’ defense as he incurred six errors.
His last turnover saw Lasquety scoot home for an easy lay-up to stretch the Heavy Bombers lead to 73-66 with 1:39 left to play in the extension period.
Meneses is hoping the Heavy Bombers can sustain their rejuvenated form. “First back-to-back nu’ng nakaraan. Ngayon first three straight wins. Baka sa susunod, first 4 straight wins,” he said. – Jerome Lagunzad
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JRU (75) – Teodoro 23, Pontejos 16, Grospe 10, Poutouochi 8, Dela Virgen 7, Cruz 3, Abdul Wahab 2, Dada 2, Dela Paz 2, Lasquety 2
Letran (68) – Nambatac 19, Calvo 18, Quinto 14, Sollano 8, Balanza 7, Luib 2, Ambohot 0, Apreku 0, Pambid 0
Quarterscores: 21-13, 37-32, 46-43, 59-59, 75-68 (OT)