Cardinals complete Final Four cast
Paul Lintag on Sep 15, 2016 06:27 PM
Allwell Oraeme put up MVP numbers as the Cardinals make a return trip to the Final Four.
There will be no Season 92 version of "Kagulo sa NCAA."
Mapua completed the Final Four cast for this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament after surprisingly tough 69-59 victory over winless College of St. Benilde Thursday at the San Juan Arena.
The Cardinals needed a strong fourth quarter push to pull away from the pesky Blazers and notch their 11th win against five defeats, joining Arellano, San Beda, and Perpetual in the next round.
The Mapua win officially eliminated the JRU Heavy Bombers (9-8) from Final Four contention.
"I'm happy we're in the Final Four but dumaan kami sa butas ng karayom ngayon eh," head coach Atoy Co said.
"I do not know maybe the boys are pressured and Benilde something to game but nothing to lose right? Then they just played their game, I think they played harder than us in the first two quarter," he added.
Benilde was always one step ahead of the Cardinals up until the middle of the third quarter before Mapua finally pulled ahead and took the lead for good, 50-46.
The Cardinals then pounded the Blazers in the fourth, pushing their biggest lead to 12, 65-53, in the last two minutes.
Reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme led Mapua with 16 points and 19 rebounds while Joseph Eriobu added 13.
Benilde lost its 16th straight game and will be tied for the worst record in NCAA history regardless if Blazers sweep their final two games.
Angeles University Foundation (2009) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (2015) share the current worst record of 2 wins and 16 defeats.
Yankie Haruna led the Blazers with 11 points.
Mapua (69): Oraeme 19, Eriobu 13, Isit 8, Menina 8, Serrano 8, Victoria 6, Estrella 4, Orquina 2, Bunag 2, Raflores 2.
CSB (59): Haruna 11, Castor 10, Leutcheu 10, Young 10, Domingo 7, Belgica 6, Dixon 3, Pasamante 2.
Quarterscores: 11-18, 29-31, 50-46, 69-59.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8