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Cards seek back-to-back

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(Mapua Gym)
2 p.m. – Mapua vs Perpetual Help (J)
4 p.m. – Mapua vs Perpetual Help (S)

It’s Mapua’s turn to enjoy homecourt advantage in the NCAA seniors basketball tournament, with the Cardinals taking on the struggling Perpetual Help Altas today in the latest edition of “NCAA on Tour” in Intramuros, Manila.

Tip off time is at 4 o’clock, with Mapua eager to come up with a fitting follow-up to a 78-75 victory over fancied Letran last week and gain a share of second spot with defending champion San Beda and contender Arellano University.

All eyes will be on top guard Andoy Estrella anew as the proud Cardona, Rizal guard has emerged as Mapua’s focal point of offense following the departure of reigning two-time league MVP Allwell Oraeme and Cebuano playmaker Shane Menina.

Good for 18.5 points, 80. rebounds and 6.0 assists against 6.5 errors per game so far, the 5-foot-10 Estrella cemented his claim as the new “King Cardinal” by drilling in a clutch step-back triple over the outstretched arms of Knights big man Jeo Ambohot with five seconds to play.

“Ang taas ng kumpiyansa ko bago ko itira ‘yun,” admitted the graduating combo guard. “Sabi lang ni coach (Atoy Co), kunin ko ‘yung bola at sa akin ‘yung last shot.”

Estrella, however, should find himself carrying a big target on his back against an Altas side determined to break the ice after two failed tries.

Perpetual Help has yet to recover its usual self from a forfeited victory over St. Benilde due to its jersey blunder in the opening week as the Altas suffered a 54-68 loss to Jose Rizal University last Friday.