Despite playing inside a sweltering JRU Gym in Manadaluyong, the Mapua University Cardinals were able to focus on the task at hand, fending off the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers with a wire-to-wire 72-60 road win, Thursday afternoon.
“I’m happy we were able to do yung mga prinactice namin. We were able to, kasi alam namin JRU best press sila eh. Dun sa press tumigil sila dahil we kept on pressing sa press break namin. One thing nabigla kami sa halfcourt, medyo kinalawang ata kami,” said Mapua head coach Atoy Co.
Behind for the entire game, the Heavy Bombers were able to cut a once 13-point lead down to just four courtesy of back-to-back conversions by RJ David. Mapua though was able to answer right back with a 8-2 run that saw a rare ejection by Justin Padua due to being called for his third delay of game violation. The run was capped by a Eric Jabel triple.
But that was just the start for the the homegrown Cardinal. Jabel took charge late, scoring four points in a 9-2 closing run
The former FEU Baby Tamaraw finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, and two assists.
“Wala naman talaga kaming player na superstar di ba? Lahat kami average lang yung player. The more I tell them they have to play as a team para manalo kami,” Co added.
Laurenz Victoria led Mapua’s balanced attack with 11 points while former Red Robin Warren Bonifacio tallied 10 points and nine rebounds.
David paced JRU with 12 points while Jed Mendoza added 11 points but needed 11 attempts to do so.
JRU shot just 33 percent from the field, knocking down just three of their 16 three-point attempts.
Mapua will next face the Letran Knights on Tuesday, July 17 at 2:00pm. This will be followed by JRU’s tilt against the San Beda Red Lions. The games will take place at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
MU 72 – Victoria 11, Bonifacio 10, Jabel 9, Pelayo 8, Serrano 8, Biteng 8, Lugo 6, Gamboa 6, Bunag 4, Aguirre 2, Salenga 0, Garcia 0
JRU 60 – David 12, Mendoza 11, Bordon 9, Esguerra 6, Silvarez 6, Dela Virgen 5, Santos 4, Padua 4, Miranda 3, Estrella 0, Mallari 0, Aguilar 0
Quarterscores: 25-14, 34-31, 52-47, 72-60