Also-ran Cardinals eliminate Blazers in semis race

Mark Escarlote on Sep 28, 2017 04:03 PM
Also-ran Cardinals eliminate Blazers in semis race
Mapua University ran away with a 79-69 spoiler over College of St. Benilde.

Mapua University arrested an 11-game slide and dragged College of St. Benilde out of the semifinals race picture, 79-69, Thursday in the 93rd NCAA senior basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Cardinals, which sizzled in the last three minutes to create a separation from a 69-69 count, played the spoilers’ role to notch their second win in 14 outings.

Laurenz Victoria led the way for Mapua with 19 points on an 8-of-15 field goal clip while adding seven assists, four rebounds and and a steal in 35 minutes of action. Danniel Aguirre had 15 points and came up a rebound short of posting a double-double, while JP Nieles, Cedric Pelayo and Leo Gabo scored 11 points each for the Cardinals, who tasted its first win since defeating Letran, 78-75, last July 11.

Aguirre dropped eight points in the fourth period while Victoria had seven in the last 10 minutes to help Mapua end an agonizing slump.     

"What can I say, it's been a long time. Thank you to Laurenz," said Mapua coach Atoy Co. "Basta we keep on practicing and we still do our system, we run, kasi yun ang sistema kasi we are small, we run."     

The Blazers went scoreless for the last 3:29 of the game and bowed out of contention for the two remaining Final Four slots with a 3-11 card.  

Christian Bunag tied the game at 69 with 2:49 remaining in the match to spark a closing 12-0 run capped by two charitries by Nieles with 4.9 seconds left.

Clement Leutcheu scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds while Unique Naboa and Dino San Juan had 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for CSB, which dropped its second straight.             


The Scores:

MAPUA (79) - Victoria 19, Aguirre 15, Gabo 11, Nieles 11, Pelayo 11, Buñag 6, Estrella 3, Orquina 2, Raflores 1.

ST. BENILDE (69) - Leutcheu 18, Naboa 12, San Juan 11, Domingo 6, Dixon 5, Belgica 4, Johnson 4, Pili 3, Castor 2, Sta. Maria 2, Mercado 2.

Quarters: 20-17, 37-42, 53-55, 79-69.



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