Poutouochi sizzles late as JRU takes top seed in Filoil quarters

Rejj Sibayan
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--In a game where Adamson played its heart out in its first taste of action without recently relieved coach Kenneth Duremdes, JRU's Abdel Poutouochi showed a bigger heart.

The Cameroonian big man scored 20 points, 8 in a pivotal late fourth quarter stretch, with 17 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks as the Heavy Bombers sealed the top position in Group A of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup with an 85-77 victory over the Soaring Falcons at the FilOil Flying V Arena on Friday.

In the match where last year's UAAP minnows tied the NCAA semifinalists at halftime, JRU only led by one point, 72-71, with four minutes left. But Poutouochi and Ervin Grospe teamed up in a pivotal 12-3 run for JRU to pull away for good.

Grospe finished with 12 points, making all but one of his six field goals, even as Dave Sanchez tallied 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists for the Heavy Bombers, who will await the results of the pivotal Saturday games.

Nico Capote led the Soaring Falcons, playing for the first time with Mike Fermin as interim coach, with 17 points on five triples and three rebounds. They badly missed the services of big men Papi Sarr and Matt Aquino as they got outrebounded, 32-47. Sarr sat out with a hamstring injury.

Aquino, however, had a curious case as a report surfaced that he transferred to NU. Assistant Coach Marlou Aquino, Matt's father, was also absent in the game, triggering speculations that he also quit his post days after good friend Kenneth Duremdes was given a pink slip as Adamson's head coach.

Box Scores:

JRU 85-Poutouochi 20, Sanchez 17, Grospe 12, Pontejos 10, Balagtas 8, Aurin 8, Teodoro 4, Dela Paz 2, Lasquety 2, Dela Virgen 2, Abdulwahab 0

Adamson 77-Capote 17, Ochea 13, Tungcab 12, Nalos 11, Garcia 6, Ng 5, Bernardo 4, Policn 4, Baytan 2, Villanueva 2, Pedrosa 1, Barrera 0, Espleta 0

Quarterscores: 21-16, 36-36, 58-55, 85-77