Noah Lugo came up big in the clutch to power the Mapua Cardinals to an 85-81 escape of the Perpetual Help Altas and keep their NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball Final Four hopes alive, Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
“Kailangan namin yung panalo. ‘Di namin control ang Baste, ang kontrolado lang namin is yung last two games,” said Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara.
The win pushed the Cardinals to a 9-8 record, half a game behind fourth-running San Sebastian. The Golden Stags take on the Arellano Chiefs later in the day.
And Lugo made sure that the Cardinals remain in the thick of things.
Down by three, 75-78, with 1:44 left, the Mapua lifer drained a huge triple to knot things up. In the next possession, he found Justin Serrano underneath for the go-ahead layup.
“Napakahirap talunin ng Perpetual, pero kita ko sa mata ng mga bata na gustong makabawi at manalo,” said Alcantara.
Laurenz Victoria was then steady from the stripe to extend Mapua’s lead to six, 80-79, with 10.4 ticks left to seal off Perpetual.
Lugo scattered 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Victoria added 14 points.
Warren Bonifacio led Mapua with 15 points and seven boards.
Perpetual, who fell to 5-12, was led by Ben Adamos’ 25-point outing. Kim Aurin added 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Jielo Razon tallied 18 points and seven assists.
Mapua’s last assignment for the round will be against Saint Benilde on Friday, October 18 at 12:00 pm. Perpetual then takes on San Sebastian later in the day.
MU 85 — Bonifacio 15, Victoria 14, Lugo 12, Gonzales 11, Gamboa 11, Aguirre 9, Bunag 6, Garcia 3, Salenga 2, Serrano 2, Nieles 0.
UPHSD 81 — Adamos 25, Aurin 19, Razon 18, Charcos 9, Sese 3, Labarda 2, Sevilla 2, Cuevas 0, Guissani 0, Tamayo 0.
Quarterscores: 25-18, 46-43, 65-64, 85-81.