Emilio Aguinaldo College found a way to end its miseries after outlasting a tough Jose Rizal University side, 63-60 in a controversial ending in their 92nd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the San Juan Arena Tuesday.
With time winding down, JRU gunner Teytey Teodoro heaved a desperation three which missed the basket. One game official blew his whistle in an apparent attempt to call a foul against the Generals, only to be waved off after the review.
The Heavy Bombers were stunned as the replay of the dying seconds was shown several times on the wide screen inside the venue.
The Generals gathered jubilantly at mid-court after the referees did not award the three free throws to Teodoro, who could have easily send the game into overtime if he can make them all.
But JRU team skipper Jordan dela Paz signed a formal protest at the scoresheet.
“Naka-protest daw sila (JRU). Ok lang, walang problema sa akin yun, let them decide on that. Pero kami sa side namin nakita namin panalo kami kasi there was really no contact on that last call,” EAC head coach said Ariel Sison in a post-game interview.
After losing a 15-point, first-half lead, the Generals had to fight for their lives in a game that saw seven lead changes and the same number of deadlocks.
The game was evenly contested up to the one-minute mark as Bombers import AbdulRazak AbdulWahab tied it at 60-all with 46.1 in the clock.
JRU however, failed to score basket after while EAC’s Hamadou Laminou scored on a twinner followed by a Remy Morada split from the foul line, in what proved to be the marginal point.
EAC’s Sidney Onwubere had a monster 26-point outburst in an almost flawless stint, while committing only a turnover. Laminou had a double-double game with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Mark dela Virgen topscored for the Heavy Bombers with 12 points.
JRU (7-6) dropped a half-game behind Mapua (7-5), while EAC snapped its three-game skid and improved to 3-9. – John Chester Fajardo