Estrella breaks Letran’s heart, brings Mapua onto win column

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 11, 2017 07:06 PM
Estrella breaks Letran’s heart, brings Mapua onto win column
CLUTCH. Andoy Estrella proved to be the thorn on the side of Letran.

The storybook ending was right there for the taking for Colegio de San Juan de Letran in its debut in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Only, Andoy Estrella wanted a storybook ending for his own.

The graduating guard’s trey over the outstretched arms of big man Jeo Ambohot proved to be the difference for Mapua University against its Intramuros rival Knights, 78-75, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

With the tally tied inside the last 30 seconds, the Cardinals put the ball in the hands of Estrella who showed no fear whatsoever. “Mataas na talaga kumpyansa ko bago ko itira,” he gladly shared with reporters post-game.

Getting switched up against the six-foot-five Ambohot, the five-foot-10 gunner dribbled his way into a good look before launching a long-range missile that dropped straight through the net. “Sabi lang ni coach, kunin ko lang yung bola at sa akin na last shot. Kaya basta tinira ko lang tapos na-shoot,” he said.

Letran still had five seconds to force overtime, but Rey Nambatac’s triple try hit the front of the rim.

In all, Estrella fired seven of his 18 points in the last two minutes to lift Mapua to an even 1-1 standing. He also collected seven assists and seven steals.

Thanks to their captain’s heroics, the Cardinals are now celebrating a win for the first time in a long while. They went 0-8 in the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament and then dropped their NCAA opener.

JR Raflores and Leo Gabo also chipped in 12 points apiece to help their team come back from a six-point deficit inside the last five minutes.

The Knights had a 71-65 advantage with 4:30 to go courtesy of JP Calvo and Bong Quinto, the two players who played the key roles in their team’s offseason drama.

Calvo scored six of his 11 points while Quinto dropped five of his 12 points in the final frame and the two of them seemed poised to deliver a feel-good win for Letran.

However, Estrella had other plans and won the Battle of Intramuros for Mapua.

BOX SCORES

MAPUA 78 – Estrella 18, Raflores 12, Gabo 12, Bunag 10, Victoria 8, Aguirre 6, Pelayo 5, Nieles 4, Orquina 3

LETRAN 75 – Balanza 15, Nambatac 13, Quinto 12, Ambohot 11, Calvo 11, Taladua 6, Vacaro 4, Bernabe 3, Balagasay 0, Gedaria 0, Pascual 0, Madreza 0

QUARTER SCORES: 17-19, 38-41, 56-61, 78-75

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