MANILA, Philippines – So much for its reputation as a defensive-minded team.
The high-scoring Mapua Cardinals shot the daylights out of the Filoil Flying V Centre with a 55% field goal accuracy against Letran’s vaunted defense in a crazy 104-94 win in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup.
With last NCAA season’s Rookie and Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme controlling the boards (he finished with 18), Mapua scored 32 fastbreak points and literally put on a shooting display.
The Cardinals were so on target that gunner Exie Biteng drilled a triple even after losing his shoe, 62-49, at the 8:30 mark of the third period.
Biteng tried to beat Letran shoting guard Rey Nambatac with a crossover but instead lost his shoe. Biteng tossed his footwear to the side, squared himself for a shot and hit all net to the delight of the Cardinal supporters.
Mapua head coach Atoy Co wasn’t too surprised with his team’s offensive output. “That is because we run. We run. We got a lot of fastbreak points. Admittedly, we are a smaller team. We have some bigs but they are rookies. We have to get them in game shape so we run.”
“That shot of Exie’s,” marvelled Co who knows a thing or two about being in the zone, “shows our focus as a team.”
Fourth year guard CJ Isit led the scoring parade with 23 points to go with 6 rebounds and 7 assists and two steals. Biteng, who hit 6-of-9 triples, totalled 18 points. Oraeme finished with 16 while power forward Justin Serrano added 13. Second year point guard Darrell Menina was Mapua’s fifth player to score in double digits as he chipped in 11.
Letran incredibly only had 9 turnovers. They nearly had the same number of triples, eight to Mapua’s 10, and the same number of second chance and turnovers points with 21. It was the fastbreaks that made the difference. The Cardinals though ruled the boards, 47-39.
In their two Filoil Flying V Premier Cup matches, the Cardinals are averaging 93.0 points. Mapua and Letran now both tote a 1-1 slate.
The Knights saw 6 players score in double digits. Rey Nambatac led Letran with 20 followed by Bong Quinto and Jom Sollano’s 14 markers each, Jerrick Balanza’s 13, JP Calvo’s 12, and McJour Luib’s 10.
Letran’s first year head coach Jeff Napa could only remark of his team’s poor defensive effort, “We have a lot of things to work on.” – Rappler.com
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