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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

NCAA 99: Mapua boots out JRU, carries Benilde to Final Four


Although Mapua University secured the number one spot in the history of the NCAA Seniors Basketball Tournament standings, it played its final elimination-round game with a 77-74 victory over Jose Rizal University on Wednesday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.

Head coach Randy Alcantara explained that part of their motivation was to bounce back after losing to JRU in the first round.

“Malaking bahay kasi number one talaga yung aim namin is makabawi sa loss nung round 1 sa JRU. Hindi ko naman inisip kung sixth straight ito or ano, yung habol lang talaga namin is pumunta kami, at nagkataon JRU, so bumawi kami at pumasok kami ng final four na mataas yung ramdam na galing kami sa win,” shared Alcantara.

Entering the final quarter, the Cardinals owned an eight-point advantage over the Heavy Bombers, and the JRU squad spent every second of the last 10 minutes chipping away at their advantage.

After exchanging blows, Mapua suddenly witnessed its lead dissipate after a Ry Dela Rosa triple tied the game 72-72 at the 2:32 mark.

With the momentum swinging towards the Heavy Bombers, Clint Escamis launched a crowd-silencing triple, making it 75-72 and helping the Cardinals regain their composure.

JRU got back within a single possession of Mapua’s lead after two free throws from Joshua Guiab, but the Cardinals locked back in on the defensive end and prevented JRU from scoring another bucket, securing the win.

Clint Escamis ended his elimination-round campaign maintaining his MVP candidate form, tallying 25 points, four rebounds, four assists, and five steals.

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Warren Bonifacio followed up with 17 points, while Marc Cuenco contributed 13 points.

Jc Recto had an all-around game with 11 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

Resting at a 15-3 record, the Cardinals enter the Final Four with a bit of extra momentum, while the Heavy Bombers drop out of the Final Four picture completely.

With this, the Cardinals now anticipate the last games of the elimination rounds before they find out who they will face in the Final Four between San Beda University and the College of St. Benilde.

Agem Miranda finished with 16 points and five assists to lead the way for JRU. Joshua Guiab had 16 points and 10 boards of his own.

In his final game as a Heavy Bomber, JL Delos Santos had eight points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists, bidding goodbye to the JRU community with an incredible game.

Season host JRU ended its Season 99 stint with a 10-8 record, a respectable run that just fell short of the top four teams.

The Scores:

Mapua 77- Escamis 25, Bonifacio 17, Cuenco 13, Recto 11, Hernandez 6, Rosillo 3, Soriano 2, Fornis 0, Dalisay 0, Asuncion 0

JRU 74– Miranda 16, Guiab 16, Dela Rosa 9, Delos Santos 8, Dionisio 8, Medina 6, Sarmiento 2, Mosqueda 2, Pabico 0, De Leon 0, Arenal 0, Argente 0, Sy 0

Quarterscores: 17-9, 33-31, 60-54, 77-74

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA


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