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NCAA 97: Hernandez shines as Mapua escapes JRU for share of leadership


Mapua University pulled off a late-game rally to deny Jose Rizal University, 59-56, as it claimed their second straight win of the NCAA Season 97 seniors basketball tournament, Friday at La Salle Greenhills St. Benilde Gym in Mandaluyong City.

The Cardinals had to work for the comeback after they squandered an early lead to the Heavy Bombers in the final period.

With JRU leading by one, 54-53, Mapua went on a 5-0 run to snatch the lead for good.

Adrian Nocum attacks inside for the go-ahead basket with 1:10 left in the game. Paolo Hernandez then took advantage of the missed Jason Celis shot and scored on the following play with 41.1 seconds left.

Marwin Dionisio then got the Bombers back in the game cutting the deficit back to one, 56-57, with just 18.7 seconds left.

Holding a precarious one-point lead with the ball, the Cardinals showed composure in their final possession of the game in finding the open man.

JRU’s EJ Agbong held off Warren Bonifacio for a foul, and the Mapua big man eventually made the two free throws for the said scoreline, 8.7 seconds left in the game.

The Heavy Bombers looked to save the game with Hommer Macatangay taking it on the inbound in the contest’s final possession. Marwin Dionisio sent it to Jason Celis, but the latter missed on the potential game-tying triple as time expired.

Head coach Randy Alcantara was relieved that Mapua once more pulled through with a win.

“Yun, nakalusot na naman sa mahirap na game. Pero yun nga, hindi sumuko ang mga players hanggang sa dulo,” the former juniors bench tactician said.

#ReadMore  NCAA 98: Juaqui Garcia, Mapua frustrate JRU for fifth win

“Buti na lang naka-connect lalo yung shoot ni (Paolo) Hernandez na talagang yun ang bumuhay sa min, at credit na rin sa mga players yung last defensive stop namin,” he continued.

With the win, Mapua knotted San Beda and Letran for early leadership in the bubble tournament while keeping JRU winless.

Hernandez starred in the win for the Cardinals, ending with 13 points, seven rebounds, one steal, and a block.

Bonifacio added 12 markers, eleven boards, an assist, and a block. Nocum grabbed 10 boards to go along with nine points and one assist.

Delos Santos paced JRU with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one block. Evan Agbong chipped in 10 markers, seven rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Mapua (2-0) will look to stay unbeaten when they tackle San Sebastian College-Recoletos (1-1) on April 5. also at 12 NN. Meanwhile, JRU (0-2) will gun for their first win against San Beda University (2-0) on April 3 at 3 p.m.

The Scores:

Mapua 59 – Hernandez 13, Bonifacio 12, Agustin 9, Nocum 8, Lacap 8, Gamboa 4, Sual 3, Pido 2, Mercado 0, Garcia 0, Soriano 0, Asuncion 0.

JRU 56 – Delos Santos 11, Agbong 10, Celis 8 , Arenal 8, Dionisio 5, Jungco 4, Bongay 2, Aguilar 2, G. Gonzales 2, Macatangay 2, Guiab 2, C Gonzales 0.

Quarterscores: 18-11, 29-21, 41-38, 59-56.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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