The Mapua University Cardinals stayed in the heat in the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball Final Four after dismantling Arellano University Chiefs, 93-67, Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“Hindi namin iniisip yung top four. One game at a time kami, at gusto namin balikan yung Arellano,” said Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara.
The Cardinals rose up to 6-6 to tie Saint Benilde at fifth place.
Six Cardinals scored in double-figures for Mapua. Justin Serrano led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds. Fellow seniors Noah Lugo and Laurenz Victoria had 11 and 10 markers respectively, with the former also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out six assists.
“Pang-third year na ni Noah ito. Leadership at maturity binibigay nila sa team. Si [Christian] Bunag at Victoria din, tapos si Serrano nag-step up na rin. Sila yung hindi pumayag na tatalunin lang kami ng ganun ganun,” added Alcantara.
After a fairly close first half, the Cardinals exploded with a 27-point third quarter to gain a 69-42 lead. Not content, Mapua bombarded Arellano from downtown to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 29, 91-62 with 1:09 left.
All in all, Mapua knocked down 11 triples, with Joaqui Garcia accounting for four of 12 points. Cyril Gonzales added 14 markers.
Paolo Hernandez missed the game due to a sprain on his right knee.
Arellano, who went down to 3-9, was led by Kent Salado, who had 23 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Rence Alcoriza added 14 points, but the Chiefs shot just 37 percent from the field.
Mapua look to make it four in a row on Thursday when they take on the JRU Heavy Bombers. Arellano, on the other hand, face the CSB Blazers on Friday.
MU 93 – Serrano 15, Gonzales 14, Garcia 12, Lugo 11, Bonifacio 11, Victoria 10, Nocum 5, Bunag 4, Aguirre 4, Gamboa 3, Salenga 2, Jabel 2, Nieles 0, Dela Cruz 0
AU 67 – Salado 23, Alcoriza 14, Espiritu 7, Sunga 6, Concepcion 3, Bayla 3, Arana 4, Sablan 3, Talampas 3, Segura 2, Sacramento 0, De Guzman 0
Quarterscores: 19-15, 42-33, 69-52, 93-67