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Agem Miranda sparks late breakaway as JRU stuns Letran in NCAA opener

Kurt Reyson tries to score a layup against Vince Sarmiento. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

CEBU CITY--Agem Miranda shone for Jose Rizal University as he led the team's late charge to stun Letran, 85-79, in an overtime thriller to open NCAA Season 99 on Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Miranda's back-to-back baskets opened the game-ending 9-2 run as the Heavy Bombers, this season's host team, handed the Knights an early dent to their title defense.

Down 76-77, JRU surged ahead as Miranda scored on a fastbreak layup off a steal and a 15-foot floater to put his team ahead, 80-77, with 2:14 remaining.

Pao Javillonar kept Letran in the game with a close shot with 1:03 to go, but Miranda found Joshua Guiab open inside for a layup of his own to up JRU's lead again to three, 82-79, with 40.3 seconds left.

Kyle Tolentino tried to tie the game again, but his long three only hit the front rim, and Miranda converted a split from the free-throw line to eventually ice the game.

Miranda and Marwin Dionisio each scored 17 points for the Heavy Bombers, while Converge's second-round pick JL Delos Santos flirted with a double-double with 11 assists and nine points with six rebounds, two steals, and one block.

Kurt Reyson led the Knights with 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Javillonar and Deo Cuajao each added 12 markers with Javillonar also grabbing 11 boards.

Box Scores:

JRU 85-Miranda 17, Dionisio 17, Argente 12, Sarmiento 10, Delos Santos 9, Guiab 8, De Leon 5, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 3, Arenal 0, Pabico 0, Medina 0, Barrera 0, Sy 0

Letran 79-Reyson 18, Santos 16, Cuajao 12, Monje 11, Fajardo 4, Go 4, Ariar 2, Tolentino 0, Galvez 0, Guarino 0, Bataller 0

Quarterscores: 16-24, 39-40, 54-56, 73-73, 85-79

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