Not wanting to suffer another heartbreak at the hands of their neighbors, the Mapua University Cardinals nailed the big shots in double overtime to stun the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 105-101, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“Tinrabaho talaga ng players, epsecially yung execution ng offense at defense namin. Hindi bumigay sa overtime, unang overtime, pangalawang overtime,” said Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara, who immediately headed to the Olivarez Gym in Paranaque to join the San Juan Knights’ game versus the Basilan Steel in the MPBL.
“Congratulations na lang sa both teams dahil maganda talaga ang pinakita nila,” he continued.
Unlike their 84-89 loss to the same team back on July 30, Mapua did not lose steam in the crunch.
Knotted at 100-all, Justin Serrano was able to power his way in the paint, scoring a tough basket against Ato Ular, who himself had a monster game, for the go-ahead basket with 39.8 ticks remaining.
Cyril Gonzales then showed nerves of steel, slicing through the line for an insurance bucket with 26.7 seconds left.
“Ayoko na maulit na makita yung seniors ko na parang nadadown sila. Pinipilit ko na matapik yung bola. Ako imbes na madown ako, ako magsisimulang bumuhay sa group,” said Gonzales, a product of NSNU.
Jerrick Balanza split his charities in the next possession to cut the lead down to just one. A frenetic sequence happened afterward that resulted to a split on the stripe by Laurenz Victoria to seal the victory.
Cyril Gonzales had 18 points while Laurenz Victoria added 13 markers.
Noah Lugo, who made sure that Mapua kept pace with Letran, tallied his personal-high of 31 points built on five triples to go along with five rebounds and four assists.
“Yung motivation ko nasa teammates ko at coaches. Lagi lang namin pinagtatrabahuan sa practice. Sa laro laging buhos buhay naming nilalaro,” said Lugo.
With the win, Mapua stayed alive in the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball playoff race, with a 4-7 slate. Moreover, they won their first game against Letran since the first round of the NCAA Season 93 tournament.
Fran Yu led Letran in scoring with 23 points and seven assists while Ato Ular finished with eye-popping numbers of 19 points and 23 rebounds.
Jerrick Balanza, who missed both of his clutch jumpers to end regulation and first overtime, added 17 points and seven rebounds.
It was a crushing defeat for Letran as it dropped to 7-4 — half-a-game ahead of CSB.
Mapua looks to continue its run when it takes on the CSB Blazers on Tuesday, September 19 while Letran will next face the San Sebastian Golden Stags on Friday, September 20.
MU 105 – Lugo 31, Gonzales 18, Victoria 13, Serrano 12, Hernandez 9, Nieles 9, Bonifacio 8, Bunag 5, Salenga 0, Aguirre 0, Jabel 0, Garcia 0, Nocum 0..
CSJL 101 – Yu 23, Ular 19, Balanza 17, Muyang 10, Batiller 10, Mina 7, Sangalang 5, Ambohot 4, Caralipio 4, Javillonar 2, Olivario 0, Balagasay 0, Reyson 0, Guarino 0
Quarterscores: 9-18, 34-37, 58-59, 80-80, 89-89, 105-101.