TEAM Jireh nearly zeroed the opposing squad in the first quarter before spreading out a 73-68 victory against Team Nuebe in bracket D of the ongoing eliminations of the 2nd Budz Cup Invitational Basketball Tournament.

With speed and almost perfect team play execution, Jireh rolled to its second win and boost their chance of earning a championship Sundaynight at the Easter College gym.

Noel Berjay, Kits Ocawe, and Bryan Rillera identically scored 12 points each as they ignite Jireh with a 14-0 run in the first eight minutes of the opening period before the hapless Team Nuebe found their luck in shooting and close the quarter at 18-8.

Rillera, who played as a starting center for Jireh, also powered the defensive end adding five blocks, five steals, including four rebounds that brought his team to a seven point advantage at the close of the first half, 31-24, Nuebe trailing behind.

But Nuebe did not let the ballgame easily slip away as Garry Ballesca alongside teammate Jerome Domingo combined 12 points in the third canto to narrow the gap at 42-38 in the 5:00 mark, but Kirby Rillera led Jireh with his eight straight points including two three-pointers to pull away anew and close the period at 54-43.

Domingo and Ballesca hang around to drop 20 more points to a narrow Nuebe’s deficit in the pay-off canto, 69-65, with 1:05 remaining, but were scrapped by Jireh’s defensive schemes as Rillera dropped the last four points that sealed the deal for his team.

“We just closed down the paint area, dun kasi ang advantage ng kabilang team since mas malalaki sila, gladly it went well and we really stopped them in converting easy lay-ups all through the game.” said Jireh coach Oliver Baquiran.

“I told the boys to stick with tight defense and siyempre kasama na yung familiarity with the run of their plays, that was our edge this evening,” Baquiran added.

Ballesca scored a double-double figure for Nuebe with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Domingo also closed the game with 26 markers including 10 boards, while teammate John Tudlong added 11 points.