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Bombers out to boost F4 bid vs Blazers

Perpetual Help’s Keith Pido (19) looks for an open teammate as he is hounded by Jose Rizal U’s Gio Lasquety (6) and Ervin Grospe (17) during their NCAA men’s basketball clash last Friday. The Altas will try to bounce back from their 52-85 loss to the Bombers against the San Beda Red Lions today.

MANILA, Philippines — Jose Rizal U seeks to firm up its grip of the No. 3 spot as it tangles with ousted St. Benilde today even as Perpetual Help tries to keep its slim semifinal hopes alive against defending champion San Beda in the NCAA seniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

With MJ dela Virgen stepping up to fire a career-best 18-point game, the Bombers ripped the Perpetual Altas, 85-52, last Friday to regain the third spot with an 8-6 record, just ahead of the fourth-running Letran (8-7) and No. 5 San Sebastian (7-7) heading to the crucial stretch of the double round elims.

“We must play with the same intensity the way we played in our last game if we want to continue to win, we can’t let our guards down,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.

Gametime is at 4 p.m. with Meneses wary of the Blazers, out of the semis race with a 3-11 mark but who are out to play the spoiler’s role against the contending teams.

Meanwhile, Perpetual Help, with a 4-9 card, sets out for the first of five wins it needs to at least earn a shot at a playoff for the last semis berth, starting San Beda, which already clinched a semis spot along with Lyceum of the Phl U (15-0) with a 13-1 slate.

The Altas and the Lions clash at 2 p.m.

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After San Beda, the Las Piñas-based school will take on Mapua on Oct. 5, Arellano U on Oct. 12, Emilio Aguinaldo on Oct. 19 and its postponed game against San Sebastian.

“We have no choice but to win all our remaining games to make it to the next round,” said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican, who will bank again on the 6-9 Prince Eze, who turned in a 23-point, 20-rebound and four-block effort against the Bombers.

But hurdling San Beda is easier said than done with the Lions coming off an 83-72 romp over the Arellano U Chiefs last Thursday also netted them the other twice-to-beat edge in the semis.

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