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Big 3rd quarter run powers Mapua to back-to-back wins

Mapua unleashed a 21-0 run in the third quarter and hammered out a 76-66 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Laurenz Victoria and Cyril Gonzales led the charge as the Cardinals clamped down on defense that led to easy scoring opportunities on the way to posting back-to-back wins after a 0-5 start.

Gonzales scored 13 points off the bench, Paolo Hernandez contributed 11 points while Victoria added 10 points for Mapua, which was coming off a 73-64 win over Arellano University last Aug. 10 at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Mapua shot 27-of-58 (46.44%) from the field, while holding EAC to just 25-of-68 (36.76%) even as it controlled the rebounding department, 42-35

Assistant coach Yong Garcia said the cancellation of games last week due to inclement weather gave the Cardinals time to improve on several aspects of the game, especially on individual skills of the players.

“We had time for a team bonding. We focused on individual skills, and at the same time team defense. It was a factor that we had a long break due to postponement of the games, we’re able to prepare well for this game,” said Garcia, who represented coach Randy Alcantara for the post-game interview.

Alcantara, according to Garcia, begged off due to health reasons.

EAC, which scored eight straight after a 35-27 halftime deficit, dropped to 1-6. JC Luciano led the Generals with 12 points while JP Maguilano had 10 points.

The first half saw Mapua build a 12 points lead early in the second period by limiting EAC to just 11-of-29 (37.93%) shooting.

Meanwhile, College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills downed Arellano, 74-66, to solidify its playoff bid in the juniors division.

Former Gilas Pilipinas Youth member RC Calimag collected 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field, Kobe Palencia added 17 points, while Jiam Quiambao and Gian Arciaga had 12 and 10 points, respectively for the Greenies.

CSB-LSGH was solid on the defensive end as it limited Arellano to just 25-of-72 (34.72%) shooting from the field while it converted 27-of-60 (45%) of its shots from the field.

The victory improved the Greenies’ record to 5-2 for solo second place in the standings behind the 5-1 of the San Beda Red Cubs.

Meantime, the Mapua Red Robins defeated the Emilio Aguinaldo College Brigadiers, 83-68, as Jeonel Policarpio finished with double-double 16 points and 11 rebounds, Megan Galang had 16 points, while John Echavia added 11 points.

It was only the second win for Mapua as it now carries a 2-5 card for ninth spot, while EAC remains at the bottom 10th with a 1-6 record. (WAYLON GALVEZ)