Season 91 hosts Mapua Cardinals bested their neighbors from Intramuros Letran Knights by a score of 82-77 in second round action of the NCAA hoop wars at the FilOil Flying V Arena Tuesday night, September 15.
Letran had a very good start thanks to all around contributions from the team which gave them a solid nine point lead as the opening period came to a close.
As the second quarter progressed though, it was Mapua’s turn to catch fire from the field, shooting at an outstanding 59% from the field which helped the Cardinals bag a 42-36 advantage at halftime.
The Knights, missing shot attempts badly in the second and third quarters went for one last run to salvage a victory. A Kevin Racal trey from the left corner cut the deficit to four with less than half a minute remaining to play but Josan Nimes intercepted the ball at center court to put the cherry on top for the Cardinals.
Mapua got yet another fine performance from Allwell Oraeme. The Nigerian giant recorded 28 huge markers to go along with a new career high 30 rebounds. He also made his presence felt on the defensive end by having three steals and three blocks.
The Cardinals, without head coach Atoy Co who was serving the first of a two-game suspension, now improve to 9-5, one place out of a Final Four berth if the season ended today. On the other hand, Letran falls to 11-3, just a half game ahead of San Beda for first place in the standings.
In the first game, the JRU Heavy Bombers also kept their playoff hopes alive by escaping past the St. Benilde Blazers, 73-69.
Bernabe Teodoro came up big in the game’s dying seconds by making a crucial defensive stop leading to an easy layup on the other end to send JRU to their eighth win against six losses. Teodoro, who was likewise the best player of the contest, had 17 points and six rebounds. He also dished out three assists and recorded two steals.