Clutch Menina lets Cardinals survive hard-charging Knights

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 09, 2016 06:41 PM
Clutch Menina lets Cardinals survive hard-charging Knights
IN MY HANDS. Darell Menina brought the big baskets that gave a win to Mapua in the Battle of Intramuros.

While Allwell Oraeme and CJ Isit were both back to full health, it was all Darell Menina who carried Mapua Institute of Technology back into the winners circle in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Pouring in all but five of his 17 points in the final frame, the second-year Cebuano shot the Cardinals over defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 79-75, on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.

They were never out of it, but Mapua were still playing catch up for majority of the matchup. That was until Menina scored seven points in a 10-4 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 75-71 advantage for his team with 61 seconds to go.

Rey Nambatac wasn’t giving up just yet and his triple capped off four unanswered points that pulled the Knights to within one. Following a defensive stop, Nambatac had a chance to reclaim the lead for his squad only this time around, his shot clanged off the rim.

Laurenz Victoria converted a couple of charities to extend the Cardinal lead to three and at the other end, they forced Bong Quinto to turn the ball over. Joseph Eriobu’s split from the line then cemented the final score.

Menina hit the big baskets while Eriobu and Allwell Oraeme held down the fort with a combined 39 points and 32 rebounds. Proud of the effort of his wards, coach Atoy Co said, “Sabi ko talaga sa kanila kaya natin Letran kasi wala silang gitna at tayo meron.”

Indeed, Mapua owned the paint with a huge 46-28 advantage in rebounds. This allowed them to withstand 30 turnovers and barge back into the win column now at 6-3.

For 5-4 Letran, it was Quinto who topped scoring with 20 points.

BOX SCORES

MAPUA 79 – Oraeme 20, Eriobu 19, Menina 17, Isit 9, Orquina 4, Biteng 3, Victoria 3, Estrella 2, Serrano 2, Raflores 0

LETRAN 75 – Quinto 20, Sollano 16, Nambatac 13, Calvo 9, Balanza 8, Luib 7, Ambohot 2, Apreku 0, Bernabe 0

QUARTER SCORES: 19-22, 38-42, 54-58, 79-75

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