MANILA, Philippines – Mapua Institute of Technology became the third school to score an upset victory against the league-leading Colegio de San Juan de Letran this season as the Cardinals escaped with a 82-77 triumph on Tuesday, September 15 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Allwell Oraeme copped another double-double performance by finishing with 18 markers and a career high of 30 boards to boost Mapua’s campaign for a final-four slot with a 9-5 record.
Aside from Oraeme, the troika of JP Nieles, Justin Serrano and Darrell Menina played a pivotal role down the stretch for the red-and-gold troop by contributing 16 of Mapua’s 20-point output in the fourth frame.
“Going into the second round, coach Atoy told the boys that if we work hard, with a team that is unselfish, there is something bigger for us. For every game, I think we are improving,” assistant coach Ed Cordero said of the team, which is now riding high on a five-game winning streak in the second round of the NCAA Season 91 basketball tourney.
The Cardinals played without their head coach Atoy Co, who was slapped with a two-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct in a match with Lyceum of the Philippines University on Friday, September 11.
Mapua had to hold off a rallying Letran unit as the Knights erased an 11-point deficit in the last 75 seconds with a 7-0 blitz that capped off with a beyond-the-arc jumper by pro-bound Kevin Racal.
Nieles was able to hammer the final nail in the coffin by splitting his charities from the foul line with 10.8 seconds remaining.
Winning for the first time versus Letran since 2010, Mapua stayed at fifth place that puts the Cardinals behind University of Perpetual Help System Dalta with a win-loss record of 9-4.
On the other hand, Letran downgrades to 11-3 as the Knights were led by Mark Cruz, who mustered 17 baskets.
Mapua (82) – Oraeme 18, Nieles 16, Serrano 14, Menina 12, Que 6, Nimes 5, Aguirre 4, Brana 4, Biteng 3, Raflores 0
Letran (77) – Cruz 17, Racal 16, Nambatac 15, Sollano 12, Apreku 6, Balanza 5, Quinto 4, Luib 2, Bernabe 0, Gedaria 0
Quarter scores: 16-25, 42-36, 62-49, 82-77.
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