(The Arena, San Juan City)
12 noon – JRU vs Perpetual
2 p.m. – San Beda vs Lyceum
4 p.m. – Arellano vs Letran
Mapua unleashed its might in the second half as the Cardinals subdued the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 82-72, yesterday to cement their hold of the fourth spot in NCAA men’s basketball at The Arena in San Juan City.
Andoy Estrella scattered 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, collared 10 boards and dished off six assists for the Cardinals, who picked up their ninth win against five losses.
The victory not only inched Mapua closer to the top three teams – Arellano (11-3), San Beda (11-4) and University of Perpetual Help (10-4) – but also dashed EAC’s slim Final Four hopes.
The Generals fell out of contention after absorbing their 10th defeat against five wins.
Mapua got a big boost from second-stringer Almel Orquina, who shone with a career-high 18 points on 7-of-10 field goal shooting while snagging five rebounds.
The Cardinals sparked a 17-8 exchange to pull away from a 36-all count at the half to 53-44 courtesy of Orquina. Estrella took over in the final period.
EAC had a chance to catch up in the final two minutes after Mapua gave up senseless fouls but failed to convert its charities.
Reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme was limited to two points and nine rebounds – a far cry from his 16-point, 20-rebound averages – but managed to swat away four blocks for Mapua.
Francis Munsayac finished with a season-high 25 points for EAC, but his efforts went futile.
Sidney Onwubere scored 14 points and 10 boards, while Hamadou Laminou posted 13 markers and 12 rebounds, but they were overshadowed by Mapua’s team effort.
Overall, the Cardinals shot an impressive 49 percent in the field (38-of-71), while leaning mostly on their bench, which scored 57 of the team’s total output.
MAPUA 82 – Estrella 19, Orquina 18, Menina 14, Raflores 14, Eriobu 8, Serrano 4, Aguirre 2, Oraeme 2, Isit 1, Bunag 0, Victoria 0.
EAC 72 – Munsayac 25, Onwubere 14, Laminou 13, King 7, Morada 5, Mendoza 4, Diego 2, Neri 2, Corilla 0, Guzman 0, Pascua 0, Serrano 0.
Quarters: 15-19; 36-36; 62-53; 82-72.