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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

Oraeme’s double-double lifts Mapua past JRU


Reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme and returnee Andrew Estrella made the defensive plays down the stretch that helped the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals to a 74-71 opening day win over the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers to close out the opening day festivities in the 92nd Season in the NCAA.

Allwell Oraeme led all scorers with another monstrous outing. The foreign student-athlete tallied 24 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks. Team captain CJ Isit added 17 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field.

“I think it’s resilience. It was a back and forth game,” Isit shared. “Despite being fairly young except me, we were able to stick together and get the win.”

After going down by as much as ten in the first quarter, the Cardinals and the Heavy Bombers had a back-and-forth affair that saw eight lead changes and five deadlocks. However, last season’s hosts were able to gain a solitary point lead entering the final frame.

Behind big man Abdoul Poutuouchi, the Heavy Bombers gained a 69-64 lead after a corner three by MJ Dela Virgen with 7:01 remaining in the game. However, that would be the last field goal scored by the Yellow and Blue for the next six minutes, as Oraeme and the backcourt of Andrew Estrella and CJ Isit were able to lock down on defense.

The Cardinals went on a 9-0 rally, with points coming from Oraeme and the returning tandem of Estrella and Oriubu. JRU had chances to take the lead once more but were forced into turnovers and long threes. Paolo Pontejos stopped the bleeding with a basket with 37.5 ticks remaining, while Jordan Dela Paz forced a backing violation on Estrella, his ninth turnover for the game, to gain possession once more.

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However, Estrella was able to block Tey Teodoro’s three-point attempt, his only miss from downtown, as JRU had no other recourse but to play the foul game with 7.3 seconds remaining. Isit split his charities, but with no timeouts remaining, Pontejos had to rush over to the other end and throw a Hail Mary. Unfortunately, the shot was too short, giving Mapua their first win of the season.

“I am happy! This is the first time in Mapua won the opening game. Thank you to all the players who have big hearts,” said Mapua head coach Atoy Co after the game. “Even if we did not play our usual game, we shot bad maybe because of opening day jitters but luckily we got the win.”

The backcourt duo of Paolo Pontejos and Tey Teodoro scored 16 and 13 points respectively.

Despite having shot a better clip from both the field and the stripe, JRU was out-rebound 45 to 38, and committed 26 turnovers that led to 20 turnover points, which proved to be the difference.

“Even during our practice and during our tune-up games, I did not know that our free throws sucked,” Co shared about his teams horrid shooting. “Hindi dapat ganun ka-close if we made our free throws.”

Mapua (1-0) look to build on this win as they face the Benilde Blazers on Tuesday, June 27 at 4:00pm. On the other hand, the JRU Heavy Bombers (0-1) face another tough opponent, as they have the Perpetual Altas next on their slate on Friday, July 1 at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

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MIT (74) – Oraeme 24, Isit 17, Estrella 10, Victoria 8, Menina 5, Eriobu 3, Magboo 3, Orquina 2, Serrano 2, Raflores 0, Biteng 0.

JRU (71) – Pontejos 16, Teodoro 13, Poutouochi 8, Grospe 7, Dela Paz 5, AbdulWahab 4, Cruz 4, Lasquety 4, Mendoza 4, Dela Virgen 3, Evardo 3, Dada 0.

Quarterscores: 12-20, 36-38, 59-58, 74-71.

Photo by Jamil Buergo

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