Mapua puts an early end to Letran’s reign

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 13, 2016 06:15 PM
Mapua puts an early end to Letran’s reign
UNCEREMONIOUS. There will be new champions in the NCAA after an early end to Letran's reign.

All throughout the 92nd Season of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Colegio de San Juan de Letran put up a gallant stand to defend their title.

Time and again, however, their gallant stand was far from enough and on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena, the Knights were unceremoniously dethroned by Mapua Institute of Technology who scored a much-needed 77-72 win.

Not only did the decision wrap up a season-sweep of their neighbors in the Battle of Intramuros, it also got them one step closer to entering the Final Four after improving to ten wins and five losses, for solo fourth place. “It’s a good feeling,” a beaming Allwell Oraeme expressed in the post-game conference.

He also added, still smiling, “It’s good we got the win because this will most likely secure us of the playoffs.”

The 19-year-old Nigerian had reason to smile as his 21-point, 26-rebound double-double powered the Cardinals into taking control right from tip-off.

Still, Letran kept battling until the very end with Bong Quinto and JP Calvo conniving to take away a 62-61 advantage in their favor inside the last seven minutes. It was at that point, however, that Oraeme imposed his will and went on a personal 5-2 run to retake the lead for Mapua, 67-63.

The Knights again tied the tally at 67 only to see Darell Menina drop two triples in an 8-0 counter that vaulted the Cardinals on top, 75-67.

Letran wasn’t giving up just yet, however, and threatened at 72-75, but Menina coolly converted on his charities to put the game out of reach. Talking about his clutch credentials, he expressed, “Tinira ko na lang at pumasok naman. Nakatsamba na naman.”

Menina wound up with 12 points, all but four coming in the final frame, and the same output was also produced by Joseph Eriobu and Denniel Aguirre.

On the other hand, the Knights, who fell to 8 - 9 for sixth place, were led in battle by Rey Nambatac who had 19 points. Four other teammates were in double-digits, but that still wasn’t enough to keep them alive in the playoffs.

BOX SCORES

MAPUA 77 – Oraeme 21, Eriobu 12, Menina 12, Aguirre 12, Victoria 9, Isit 6, Bunag 3, Estrella 2, Orquina 0, Raflores 0, Serrano 0

LETRAN 72 – Nambatac 19, Quinto 16, Sollano 10, Calvo 10, Balanza 10, Luib 3, Apreku 2, Ambohot 2, Dela Pena 0, Balagasay 0, Ular 0

QUARTER SCORES: 15-7, 39-29, 60-49, 77-72

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