Coming off two straight losses, the Mapua University Cardinals got back on the winning track, cooling down the sizzling Arellano University Chiefs, 91-82, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
After a successful opening game against the JRU Heavy Bombers last July 12, the Cardinals faltered against the CSB Blazers and the Lyceum Pirates to drop their card to 1-2.
“After ng talo last game, nag-double effort kami para tumaas yung intensity namin,” said Mapua lifer Laurenz Victoria, who steered the ship with nine points and nine assists.
Hungry for a win, Christian Bunag and Warren Bonifacio carried the Cardinals to an 18-point lead midway through the third frame, 64-46.
Bunag had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Bonifacio had 12 points and five rebounds.
Just as he has done all season long, Levi dela Cruz came alive in the final frame. The pint-sized guard scored 10 of his game-high 25 points in the final frame – including a breakaway layup with 2:34 lead that sliced the lead down to just five with 2:34 left.
“Sinabi ko sa mga teammates ko na mag-compose lang. ‘Pag sinabayan namin sila, masisira laro namin,” recalled Victoria.
Off a timeout, Cedric Pelayo, who scored nine of his 13 points in the final quarter, knocked down a layup. Bonifacio followed it up with a hook shot to seal the win.
Eric Jabel and Noah Lugo chipped in 15 and 12 points respectively.
Mapua took advantage of Arellano’s 24 turnovers, scoring 27 points off of it.
Ian Alban chipped in 12 markers for the now 2-2 Chiefs.
Mapua will next face the San Beda Red Lions on Friday, August 3. Arellano, on the other hand, take on the Letran Knights in Tuesday, August 7.
MU 91 – Bunag 16, Jabel 15, Pelayo 13, Lugo 12, Bonifacio 12, Victoria 9, Biteng 6, Gamboa 6, Aguirre 2, Pajarillo 0
AU 83 – Dela Cruz 25, Alban 12, Dela Torre 10, Alcoriza 9, Segura 8, Concepcion 6, Ongolo Ongolo 4, Serajosef 3, Canete 2, Santos 2, Villoria 2, Codinera 0, Sacramento 0, Abdurassad 0, Bayla 0
Quarterscores: 31-22, 52-40, 69-57, 91-83