As the season gains momentum, the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) Cardinals were able to score a 101-72 victory over the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals and notch their second win of the 91st season, held at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan Friday afternoon.
The two teams went to play a slow start offensively as they struggled to find rhythm in the early minutes of the game. Mapua had good execution as they located their shooters from the perimeter, but even wide-open shots were not falling. On the other hand, the Generals were forced to committing turnovers that gave them a near five-minute drought in scoring, despite making the game’s first basket. On the last stretch of the frame, Exequiel Biteng fired two three-pointers, while Francis Munsayac provided key assists as they raced to a 15-14 finish at the end of the first, in favor of the Cardinals.
In the start of the second quarter, Mapua opened it up with an 8-0 blitz capped by a Josan Nimes layup after Biteng and Menina drained two triples. The stretch was done within two minutes and opened up the game for Mapua. The Cardinals were able to maintain the double-digit advantage just before the Generals finally put up a string of points in the scoreboard. With less than two minutes to go left in the first half, EAC erected a 7-0 run, but was extinguished by five straight points by Stephen Que as his squad led by a dozen at the break.
The Generals played the passing lanes as Mapua committed turnovers in the first part of the second half. However, EAC were unable to capitalize on such as they let go of opportunities on even point-blank attempts. Every mini-rally put up by the EAC were quickly answered by the Cardinals. They were able to hold on to their comfortable lead for the second half. The Generals were able to score their best quarter offensively as they tallied 21 points in the frame but Mapua was still in clear control as they were up by 18 after the third.
Entering the last quarter armed with all sorts of momentum, Mapua kept on increasing their lead as the game became ugly scoring-wise. The Cardinals left their opponents dazzled as the entire fourth period became a seemingly 10-minute garbage time, with only the final score just waiting to be settled. With four minutes to go, Mapua already matched its first half total in scoring while EAC struggled to even put up double-digit scoring in the final frame.
Head Coach Atoy Co said that this was a tough game to play. “I’m really emotional right now because it’s hard to play a 0-4 team. They have nothing to lose. For us, we are 0-3 [the past three games]. We needed to play good defense,” the PBA all-time great said.
For the game, Coach Co assessed that it was a good all-around performance by the team. “We played good defense. If we play good defense the offense will come. The ball movement was excellent and we were able to find the shooters.”
Mark Brana did not play due to back spasms, while Andretti Stevens was still recuperating from a sore knee.
The Cardinals had five players score in double digits. They were led by Josan Numes’ 18 points. Stephen Que and Justin Serrano combined for 33 points as well. Serrano shot 8/12 from the field and grabbed six boards. For the Generals, Laminou Hamadou and Sidney Onwubere played 33 minutes apiece with Hamadou scoring 16 points, while Onwubere notched another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
As a team, the Cardinals shot an outstanding 51% from the field and assisted on all but ten of their field goals.
Mapua improves to a 2-3 record while the cellar-dealing EAC squad is still winless after five outings. Mapua’s next game will be up against the Lyceum Pirates while the Generals will tackle San Sebastian. The games will be played on Friday, July 31 still at the Filoil Arena.
MIT (101) – Nimes 18, Que 17, Serrano 16, Biteng 12, Isit 12, Nieles 7, Menina 6, Aguirre 5, Oraeme 4, Villasenor 2, Dela Rosa 2, Layug 0, Raflores 0.
EAC (72) – Hamadou 16, Munsayac 15, Onwubere 13, Pascua 11, General 8, Mejos 5, Diego 4, Bonleon 0, Estacio 0.
Quarterscores: 15-14, 45-33, 72-54, 101-72
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