Scoring only 11 points in the last quarter, there was no meltdown this time for the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) Cardinals as they were able to pull off a 70-65 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD) Altas held at the FilOil Flying V Arena on Thursday late afternoon.
Mapua went to the MVP frontrunner Allwell Oraeme as the big man delivered his team’s first six points including a wide open jumper and give his squad the early edge early on. The Cardinals also kept on pushing the ball together with the pace of the game as a 9-2 run nearing the tail-end of the period extended their lead. On the other hand, Perpetual was active with the offensive boards but failed to convert on second chances and led to transition points on Mapua’s end. Despite making a little 5-0 spurt in the dying seconds of the first quarter, JP Nieles beat the first quarter buzzer with a top of the key triple to give Mapua a 20-13 lead after 10 minutes.
The Cardinals opened up the second quarter with suffocating defense by closing out well on Perpetual’s shooters while also clogging the paint to intercept interior passes. In two minutes, they inked in 6 unanswered points including fast break points to double the output of their opponents at 26-13. The Altas were also haunted by point-blank misses while good transition offense enabled them to lead by as much as 18 with less than 2 minutes to play in the first half with a triple by Exe Biteng.
A defensive-themed beginning to the second half was showcased by both teams as they combined for a solitary point by a free throw by Scottie Thompson nearly three minutes into the third canto. The Altas’ defense limited Mapua to only three points in the ensuing plays while a Thompson started to make noise from putbacks and dishing out assists to pull through within single digits. In addition, Mapua’s zone defense was effective as Perpetual’s shooters could not find the bottom of the rim from the perimeter.
Biteng and Medina each knocked down a triple to halt the Altas’ rally and extend the game once again to 57-42. As Mapua led by 17 entering the fourth period, three rushed possessions to start the payoff quarter led to two turnovers and four quick points by Perpetual. Despite Oraeme salvaging Mapua’s scoring by a dunk, Gerald Dizon made five straight points to make it a 61-54 game with five minutes left in the game.
For Perpetual, Bright Akhuetie made three straight turnovers on outlet passes that stopped their team’s chances scoring. However, Mapua was not able to capitalize as they missed on their attempts on their end and also gave up cheap fouls on the Altas’ bigs. After free throws made by Akhuetie, Kevin Oliveria and JP Nieles exchanged big shots with 1:21 left and make the score 67-61. Perpetual pulled off a 4-1 counter in just a few seconds followed by a good stop that enabled them to get a shot to at least tie the game. However, they failed to convert as Oraeme grabbed the miss and threw it for a fast break score that iced the game for the Cardinals.
“Lady luck is on our side!” declared Mapua head coach Atoy Co. “We practiced our late-game execution during our two week off,” he remarked about the team’s end game composure. Moreover, Co expects to have Josan Nimes back after two games while floor general CJ Isit will return after four games. However, Smart Elite ambassador Andretti Stevens is still having trouble with a recurring knee injury.
Allwell Oraeme led the Cardinals with 19 points and 15 rebounds while fellow big man Bright Akhuetie led Perpetual with 18 points and nine rebounds. However, Smart Elite ambassador Scottie Thompson had a subpar outing with just 14 points on 5/18 shooting. He also had seven boards, three dimes, and two steals but committed five turnovers.
The Mapua Cardinals (5-5) will face the San Sebastian Stags (7-3) on Friday, September 4 at 12:00nn while the Perpetual Altas look to bounce back against the Lyceum Pirates on Tuesday, September 1 at 4:00pm.
MIT (70) – Oraeme 19, Biteng 12, Serrano 11, Nieles 9, Menina 9, Que 4, Brana 4, Aguirre 2, Dela Rosa 0, Raflores 0.
UPHSD (65) – Akhuetie 18, Thompson 14, Dagangon 11, Dizon 5, Oliveria 4, Eze 4, Sadiwa 3, Coronel 2, Bantayan 2, Gallardo 2, Ylagan 0, Tamayo 0, Elopre 0, Cabiltes 0.
Quarterscores: 20-13, 46-29, 59-42, 70-65
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