Cardinals stall Lions’ march

April 24, 2022 Theodore P. Jurado 109 views

PAOLO Hernandez produced a double-double effort in a reserve role as Mapua stalled San Beda’s march to the Final Four with a 68-54 victory yesterday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the La Salle Greenhills Gym.

Dealing the Red Lions their first loss while keeping the Cardinals’ hopes of advancing to the Final Four outright alive, Hernandez provided the needed spark off the bench with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

“Lagi akong ready, mapa-first stringer or second stringer man,” said Hernandez, who also had two assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action.

Mapua’s emphatic win left Letran as the lone undefeated team in the tournament, as the defending champions stretched its perfect run to seven games following a masterful 81-59 win over Jose Rizal University.

The defeat was San Beda’s worst since a 72-91 trampling it suffered from the hands of Arellano University on Oct. 1, 2015.

Posting their third consecutive win, the Cardinals moved up to 6-2, trailing the second-running Lions (6-1) by just half-a-game.

“Sarap ng feeling na talunin ang nasa top team,” said team captain Warren Bonifacio, who contributed 13 points, four boards and three blocks. “Sobrang saya kasi lahat ng pagod, lahat ng pinaghirapan sa ensayo, nagbunga.”

As Mapua holds the tiebreaker over San Beda in case both teams end up tied at No. 2 at the end of the elimination round, Hernandez hopes that his troops will sustain the same energy against Lyceum of the Philippines University on Wednesday.

“Same mentality. Hard work pa rin. Lahat ng teams dito, contender. Walang mahina, lahat malakas,” said Hernandez.

Toby Agustin also played big for the Cardinals with a game-high 15 points.

San Beda is now on a must-win situation against College of Saint Benilde on Tuesday and bitter rival Letran on Friday to gain an outright passage to the Final Four.

James Kwekuteye came through with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Ralph Penuela added 13 points, three assists and two steals for the Lions.

Jeo Ambohot had 14 points and 12 rebounds while Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso each scored 12 points for the Knights, who led by as much of 34 points.

The last-placed Bombers were formally eliminated in the play-in race with their seventh loss in eight contests.

Homer Macatangay had 11 points and three rebounds, while Jason Celis also scored 11, but only scored a single point in the first half where JRU trailed 18-35.

The scores:

First game

Mapua (68) — Agustin 15, Hernandez 14, Bonifacio 13, Pido 8, Nocum 8, Lacap 5, Gamboa 5, Salenga 0, Mercado 0. San Beda (54) — Kwekuteye 14, Penuela 13, Amsali 6, Andrada 5, Gallego 4, Bahio 3, Sanchez 3, Alfaro 2, Ynot 2, Cuntapay 2, Abuda 0, Villejo 0. Quarterscores: 17-14, 31-27, 50-40, 68-54

Second game

Letran (81) — Ambohot 14, Abando 12, Paraiso 12, Mina 9, Sangalang 7, Tolentino 7, Fajarito 6, Javillonar 6, Reyson 5, Ariar 2, Yu 1, Olivario 0, Caralipio 0, Guarino 0, Lantaya 0.
JRU (59) — Macatangay 11, Celis 11, Bongay 8, Aguilar 6, G. Gonzales 4, Guiab 4, Aguado 3, C. Gonzales 3, Agbong 3, Dionisio 2, Arenal 1, Jungco 1, Estrella 1, Dela Rama 1, Delos Santos 0.