MANILA, Philippines – Host Jose Rizal University pulled off an opening upset over defending champion Letran, 85-79, in overtime in the NCAA Season 99 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
The Heavy Bombers proved to be the steadier team in OT as the Knights’ bid for a fourth consecutive championship started off on the wrong foot.
“In the fourth quarter we thought we had already won, but in the fourth quarter it was just like last season. We were up by three points and they dropped a triple, so I was surprised when that happened,” forward Agem Miranda said after scoring 17 points.
“I said here we go again, but when we had to work overtime I thought this couldn’t happen again. The outcome should be different now. This time we have to win.”
In both teams’ first-round matches last season, Letran also forced overtime on a Kurt Reyson triple and went on to win the match in OT 101-97.
It looked like history was about to repeat itself when Letran’s Deo Cuajao sank the tying 3-pointer with 3.2 ticks remaining to send the game to OT.
But the Heavy Bombers refused to lose this time as Joshua Guiab and Miranda came through in the final minute.
Dionisio finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds. Rookie Shawn Argente also helped JRU with 12 points
Reyson had an all-around game of 18 points, six boards and four assists, but had seven turnovers for Letran. Santos finished with 16 points and nine boards, while Cuajao and Pao Javillonar each scored 12 points in a losing effort.