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EAC breaks out of slump, hands Mapua second straight heartbreak


After two uninspiring outings, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals did not allow themselves to suffer an upset against the Mapua University Cardinals, taking a 77-72 win, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

“Thankful lang ako dahil we did not go 0-3 [in this stretch,” said second-year EAC head coach Ariel Sison. “So at least yung dalawang talo namin ng sunod, hindi nasundan ng isa pa, so I’m very happy. We prepared hard for this game.”

EAC evened their slate to 2-2 while Mapua suffered its second straight setback, losing by just an average of 4.0 points, to fall to 1-3.

Fifth-year utility forward Sidney Onwubere led the Generals with 22 points on 8-for-18 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Moreover, the 23-year old knocked down the biggest shot of the game that broke the momentum of the Cardinals.

With EAC clinging to a one point lead with 27 ticks remaining, Onwubere called for an isolation and knocked down a cold blooded triple, his fourth three of the game, to turn the game into a two-possession contest.

Leo Gabo was able to answer right back with less than 10 seconds left but free throws from Jerome Garcia sealed the win.

Jervin Guzman had 13 points off the bench while Fil-Am Juju Bautista stepped up after Hamadou Laminou figured in foul trouble for the entire game, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“I just told him he has to play his rhythm. He came from an injury, so he did not play (vs) San Beda. But I told him, no problem. He can recover, he will come back strong, so that’s what happened today,” Sison remarked about Bautista.

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Mapua once again had a spirited outing, rallying back from a 46-56 deficit early in the final frame. Behind Andrew Estrella, the Cardinals went on a 21-8 rally with Estrella scoring 10 points during that frame. A basket by JB Raflores with 3:02 left followed by a split on the stripe by Christian Bunag gave Mapua a three-point lead.

“Sabi ko lang sa kanila, no worries, let it happen, good defense, focus, that’s all,” Sison recalled.

Estrella scored all 12 of his points in the final frame while Gabo finished with 19 markers.

Raymund Pascua and Garcia linked up capped by a triple from the former with 1:23 remaining to give EAC a three-point edge.

Laminou was limited to just 15 minutes of action, while Francis Munsayac, still feeling the effects of the right foot sprain from their loss to San Beda, played just 10 minutes.

EAC looks to pick up their second win in a row on Friday, July 28, against the Perpetual Altas at 12:00nn. Mapua, on the other hand, hope they can upset the Lyceum Pirates on the same day at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

EAC (77) – Onwubere 22, Guzman 13, Bautista 12, Pascua 11, Garcia 8, Mendoza J 6, Munsayac 3, Laminou 2, Tampoc 0, Corilla 0, Neri 0, Altache 0.

MU (72) – Gabo 19, Raflores 17, Estrella 12, Bunag 8, Victoria 7, Aguirre 6, Nieles 3, Orquina 0, Jimenez 0

Quarterscores: 13-17, 36-30, 52-46, 77-72.

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