NCAA 95: Cardinals lock down JRU to boost Final Four bid

Mark Escarlote on Sep 26, 2019 05:53 PM
NCAA 95: Cardinals lock down JRU to boost Final Four bid
Mapua University solidified its bid for a Final Four berth at the expense of Jose Rizal University. (Josh Albelda)

Mapua University shackled Jose Rizal University to only eight points in the third quarter before weathering the Heavy Bombers' late game rally to escape with a 72-67 victory Thursday in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Cardinals improved to a 7-6 win-loss record to strengthen their Final Four bid as they moved within half a game behind no. 4 San Sebastian College.

"Natutuwa and masaya kasi one day preparation lang, di namin alam kung paano ipapahinga ang mga players pero still nag-response naman sila," said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara, whose squad won its fourth straight match and second in three days. "Nakakapagod pero kailangan naming gawin. Buti na lang bago sila nakahabol malaki na ang lamang namin." 

Laurenz Victoria scored 13 points to lead four other Cardinals in double figures despite Mapua playing without Noah Lugo, who was feeling under the weather. Justin Serrano had 12 markers, JP Nieles and Christian Bunag scored 11 each while Cyril Gonzales finished with 10.   

Mapua trailed, 30-31, at the half before clamping down on defense to silence the Heavy Bombers as the Cardinals built a comfortable cushion heading into the payoff period. But JRU refused to go down without a fight, mounting a 15-2 fightback to close in at 63-68 after Agem Miranda completed a three-point play with just 1:25 left.

After a Victoria trip to the line for the Cardinals, Marq Dionisio sank his own two foul shots to keep the Heavy Bombers in the game, 70-65, with 21.7 ticks left before Nieles sealed the win for Mapua with a jumper from the wing.      

The match got a bit testy midway in the final period with Nieles and John Amores of JRU figuring out in a shoving match that warranted the Cardinal an unsportsmanlike foul and the Heavy Bomber a technical foul.

JRU dropped to a 4-9 slate.

Dionisio fired 15 points while Miranda and Amores scored 13 and 12 markers, respectively, in a lost cause for the Heavy Bombers.


Box scores: 

Mapua (72) -- Victoria 13, Serrano 12, Nieles 11, Bunag 11, Gonzales 10, Bonifacio 8, Aguirre 2, Salenga 2, Nocum 2, Garcia 0, Jabel 0, Gamboa 0.

JRU (67) -- Dionisio 15, Miranda 13, Amores 12, Dela Rosa 8, Aguilar 8, Delos Santos 5, Arenal 2, Aboag 2, Jungco 2, Vasquez 0, Macatangay 0.

Quarter Scores: 12-15; 30-31; 48-39; 72-67



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