MANILA, Philippines – Mapua opened its NCAA Season 94 campaign with a victory over Jose Rizal University, 72-60, right in the Heavy Bombers’ homecourt at the JRU Gym in Mandaluyong, Thursday, July 12.
Stalwart guard Laurenz Victoria led a great team effort from the Cardinals, dropping a team-high 11 points on top of 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Rookie big man Warren Bonifacio impressed in his debut with 10 points and 9 boards off the bench. Five other Cardinals scored at least 6 points in the double-digit win.
Cedric Pelayo drained a corner 3 at the 6:34 mark of the 4th to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 10, 63-53, but the Heavy Bombers responded with a quick 5-0 run ending in a Jed Mendoza transition triple, 58-63.
The Bombers, however, were unable to sustain their offense as the Cardinals regained their 10-point cushion off an Eric Jabel dagger floater, 70-60, with 1:45 left in regulation.
Returning guard Noah Lugo orchestrated for the Cardinals in the 3rd back to a comfortable 8-point lead, 48-40, but new JRU leader Mendoza ignited a short run along with streaky shooter MJ Dela Virgen to again creep within 3, 47-50.
Mapua opened up an 11-point lead, 25-14, over the hosting Heavy Bombers. However, a balanced charge peaked by a Karl Bordon corner triple all but erased the Cardinals advantage to 3 at the half, 34-31.
MAPUA (72) – Victoria 11, Bonifacio 10, Jabel 9, Biteng 8, Pelayo 8, Serrano 8, Gamboa 6, Lugo 6, Buñag 4, Aguirre 2, Garcia 0, Salenga 0.
JRU (60) – David 12, Mendoza 11, Bordon 9, Esguerra 6, Silvarez 6, Dela Virgen 5, Padua 4, Santos 4, Miranda 3, Aguilar 0, Estrella 0, Mallari 0.
Quarter scores: 25-14, 34-31, 52-47, 72-60.
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