Mapua University turned on the switch in the second half, beating Emilio Aguinaldo College, 77-67, on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Tournament at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Trailing by as much as 16 in the first half, the Cardinals turned things around in the third quarter, rallying a 24-4 run capped by Toby Agustin’s two free throws to give them a 54-47 advantage while also taking their first lead in the said quarter.
Still, the Generals were able to hang on after the end of the third, only trailing by four, 53-57.
Unfortunately in the payoff period, Mapua pushed its lead to its biggest with 16 following a Pao Hernandez basket plus foul, 73-57, in the middle of the final frame.
“Sabi ko kung gusto namin manalo umpisahan namin sa depensa. Alam naman natin magiging resulta non kasi start pa lang nung first possession namin, turnover, first two turnovers. So yung start namin bad talaga,” said the Cardinals head coach Randy Alcantara.
“Yun nga, sabi ko nga, kung gusto natin makitang manalo, gawin namin ng third quarter. So nagresponse naman sila sa defense at saka yung sa press break namin nakatawid kami ng bola, at yun nakaexecute kami ng plays namin,” he continued.
Nat Cosejo brought out the guns in the first half scoring 14 of his 18 markers while giving EAC its largest margin after converting his charities, 42-27 right before ending the second period.
Warren Bonifacio had 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists while Marc Cuenco added 16 markers, eight boards, and two dimes on 50-percent shooting from the field.
Cosejo, who led EAC with 18 points, also added three rebounds, three assists, and three blocks. Adrian Balowa finished with 11 markers and five boards while Allen Liwag had nine markers and nine boards.
The Cardinals got their third win in 12 games, while the Generals dropped to 1-11.
Both will be back on Tuesday. Mapua will be facing University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (5-6), 12 NN. EAC on the other hand will take on San Beda University (6-4) at 3 PM.
Mapua 77 – Bonifacio 18, Cuenco 16, Nocum 11, Agustin 9, Hernandez 8, Pido 6, Soriano 4, Mercado 3, Salenga 2, Garcia 0, Lacap 0, Igliane 0.
EAC 67 — Cosejo 18, Balowa 11, Liwag 9, Maguliano 7, Cosa 7, Luciano 5, Tolentino 4, Bajon 4, Umpad 2, Ad. Doria 0, An. Doria 0, Angeles 0.
Quarterscores: 8-23, 30-43, 57-53, 77-67.