NCAA 95: Mapua outlasts Letran in 2OT classic

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 13, 2019 04:47 PM
NCAA 95: Mapua outlasts Letran in 2OT classic
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Mapua University can stake claim to a part of Intramuros for the first time in two years after besting neighboring Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 105-101, in a double-overtime classic, Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Cardinals last triumphed over the Knights back in 2017, but finally got to split their elimination round meetings in the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament with a gutsy win that raises their record to 4-6.

Mapua drew contributions from up and down the roster, none bigger than big-time plays from veteran Justin Serrano, steady Warren Bonifacio, and rookie Cyril Gonzales. "Tinrabaho talaga ng players. Hindi kami bumigay sa overtime - unang overtime, pangalawang overtime," a beaming head coach Randy Alcantara said right after the final buzzer and right before leaving the venue for San Juan's matchup with Basilan in the MPBL.

With the two teams still all even at 100-all with 53.1 ticks to go in the second extra period, Serrano willed in a short stab through Ato Ular who also fouled him in the process.

The veteran forward botched his free throw, but Bonifacio got the offensive rebound before the ball found Gonzales for a layup.

At the other end, Jerrick Balanza then fished a foul and split from the stripe to pull the Knights to just 101-104 with 17.1 seconds remaining.

Letran almost had another golden opportunity after Ular tipped Noah Lugo's inbound pass.

Mapua got its own timely tip, however, as its heady rookie deflected Allen Mina's forward pass to Bonbon Batiller. "Ayoko na kasing makita yung seniors ko na nada-down sila kaya pinilit ko talagang matapik yung bola," he said post-game.

Not long after, Laurenz Victoria went 1-of-2 from the line to finally wrap up the red and gold's gutsy win. "Congratulations na lang sa both teams dahil maganda talaga ang pinakita nila," coach Randy said.

In the end, Gonzales had 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals while Victoria had 13 markers, three assists, and two boards of his own. Serrano also had 12 points to his name.

All game long, though, it was Lugo who shone bright for the Cardinals with a career-high 31 points in efficient 11-of-17 shooting on top of five rebounds and four assists. "Yung motivation ko, teammates ko at coaches ko talaga kaya sa laro, lagi naming binubuhos ang buhay namin," he said.

They were actually well on their way to a win in regulation, but Balanza's missed jumper in the dying moments was cleaned up by Ular.

In the first overtime, it was the Knights' turn to be en route to a win, but Paolo Hernandez's long two with 4.1 seconds left kept the Cardinals afloat.

They would be the first to swim to shore from there and, in the process, boosted their bid for the playoffs in ascending to solo sixth.

On the other hand, Letran fell to fourth now at 7-4 as Fran Yu's season-best outing with 23 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and three steals went to waste. Ular also posted a 19-point, 23-rebound double-double while Balanza also added 17 markers, seven assists, three boards.

BOX SCORES

MAPUA 105 - Lugo 31, Gonzales 18, Victoria 13, Serrano 12, Hernandez 9, Nieles 9, Bonifacio 8, Bunag 5, Salenga 0, Aguirre 0, Jabel 0, Garcia 0, Nocum 0

LETRAN 101 - Yu 23, Ular 19, Balanza 17, Muyang 10, Batiller 10, Mina 7, Sangalang 5, Ambohot 4, Caralipio 4, Javillonar 2, Olivario 0, Balagasay 0, Reyson 0, Guarino 0

QUARTER SCORES: 9-18, 34-37, 58-59, 80-80, 89-89 (OT), 105-101 (2OT)

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