PARANAQUE CITY – Rizal Technological University weathered the surprising tough stand of Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite to hack out the 72-58 win at the National Capital Region Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association (NCRUCLAA) Basketball tournament at the A. R. Valdez Hall of PATTS College of Aeronautics Thursday afternoon (February 16). The Blue Thunder needed big shots from their key players to earn their fourth win in five starts and a share of Second Place in Group A with Olivarez College.
Playing without top scorer Cyrus Tabi who was suspended after getting ejected in their last game for a punching foul, Coach Johnedel Cardel made the adjustments by inserting Nicole Liquinan and Johndel Flores into the starting lineup and they responded by combining for 11 markers in the first period as RTU zoomed ahead, 21-6. Jonathan Boholano then came off the bench and combined well with starter Kerr Bangeles in pushing the Blue Thunder further on top by halftime, 43-22.
Suddenly, the Vanguard showed signs of life in the third canto and closed the gap via a 15-1 run led by Rolando John Rafael, 37-44. However, RTU responded with seven straight points by Boholano and Riva to ease the pressure, 51-37.
JJ Dultra and Elmer Yumul gave it one last push and cut the margin to only eight points, 51-59 but the Blue Thunder would not be denied as Boholano and Bangeles continuously bailed out their side with timely hits. Riva delivered the dagger triple that gave RTU an unassailable 71-56 lead with less than two minutes to play.
Boholano was chosen as Player of the Game with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Flores was next with 12 points and five rebounds.
Dultra and Rafael paced the Vanguard with 13 points each. By absorbing their fifth straight setback, EAC fomally bowed out of contention from the playoffs as only the top four teams in each group will advance to next month’s knockout crossover quarterfinals.
How They Scored:
RIZAL TECH (72) – Boholano 17, Flores 12, Riva 10, Bangeles 10, Estoce 7, Liquinan 6, Reyes 4, Tilos 3, Senires 2, Magno 1, Monghit 0, Asuncion 0.
E A C – CAVITE (58) – Dultra 13, Rafael 13, Yumul 8, Ebdani 6, Urbina 6, de los Santos 5, Dizon 5, Agillon 2, Justan 0, Paraiso 0, Batestil 0, Aguinaldo 0.
Period Scores: 21-6, 43-22, 53-42, 72-58.