collegiate basketball

Mapua reasserts mastery over San Beda; Arellano escapes EAC in NCAA 98 kickoff

JR Isaga
Mapua reasserts mastery over San Beda; Arellano escapes EAC in NCAA 98 kickoff

Mapua's Jasper Salenga shoots over the San Beda defense at the start of the NCAA Season 98 basketball tournament

GMA Sports-Angela Davocol

NCAA Season 97 runner-up Mapua banks on a balanced attack to rout reeling contender San Beda at the start of the Season 98 basketball tournament

MANILA, Philippines – Mapua started its highly anticipated campaign as a top NCAA contender with a 66-55 statement win over fellow powerhouse San Beda to kick off Season 98 at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, September 10.

Arvin Gamboa led the balanced Cardinal takeover with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting with 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Bryan Lacap scored 11 on a 4-of-8 clip, while Juaqui Garcia added 10 points in just 14 minutes off the bench.

Coming off a small 29-33 deficit near the start of the third quarter, the Red Lions’ defenses completely fell apart as the Cardinals fired off a pivotal 17-4 run ending with a Garcia three for the 50-33 separation.

San Beda fared no better in the final frame as Gamboa converted an and-one bucket with 4:22 left in regulation to help Mapua peak with a 19-point gap, 65-46.

The Red Lions’ comeback attempt simply came too late as their 9-0 spurt capped by a Ralph Panuela step-back three at the 1:47 mark did not even get them back within a single-digit deficit, 55-65.

“I thank my players for following the game plan. Of course, it’s a collective effort, and everyone contributed,” said Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara in Filipino.

“We really had to stop San Beda’s scorers and they knew it, and worked hard for it.”

San Beda star James Kwekuteye led all scorers in the embarrassing loss with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while JB Bahio stuffed the stat sheet with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 24 minutes.

The Red Lions’ loss marked the first time they lost an opening day game since 2006.

Meanwhile, in the first game of the doubleheader, the Arellano Chiefs squeaked past season host EAC Generals, 63-58.

Veteran guard Darrel Menina topscored with 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting, while Axel Doromal scored 13 plus 6 rebounds.

Do-it-all forward Cade Flores barely missed a double-double finish with 9 points and a game-high 13 boards, while former UE prospect Neil Tolentino added 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Allen Liwag paced the tough loss with 12 points, 13 boards, 3 assists, and 1 block, while former UST forward Nat Cosejo scattered 10 points and 6 rebounds in just 17 minutes off the bench.

Action continues on Sunday, September 11 at the FilOil EcoOil Centre with a 12 pm curtain-raiser between the Perpetual Help Altas and the JRU Heavy Bombers, while the CSB Blazers and LPU Pirates clash at 3 pm.

Arellano shoots for its second straight win against the San Sebastian Stags on Tuesday, September 13, 12 pm, while San Beda and EAC figure in a 3 pm main event that same day. Meanwhile, Mapua returns on Wednesday, September 14, with a 3 pm game against LPU.

The Scores

First Game

Arellano 63 – Menina 15, Doromal 13, Tolentino 10, Flores 9, Mantua 5, Oftana 3, Mallari 2, Abastillas 2, Oliva 2, Talampas 2, Sunga 0.

EAC 58 – Liwag 12, Cosejo 10, Maguliano 9, Gurtiza 8, Umpad 8, Luciano 4, Tolentino 4, Robin 3, Balowa 0, An. Doria 0, Ad. Doria 0, Bajon 0.

Quarters: 14-17, 33-35, 46-47, 63-58.

Second Game

Mapua 66 – A. Gamboa 12, Lacap 11, Garcia 10, Salenga 7, Hernandez 6, Bonifacio 6, Nocum 4, Soriano 2, Pido 2, Agustin 2, G. Gamboa 2, Mercado 2, Cuenco 0.

San Beda 55 – Kwekuteye 15, Bahio 9, Penuela 8, Sanchez 6, Visser 6, Cortez 5, Cuntapay 4, Jopia 2, Alfaro 0, Andrada 0, Ynot 0, Cometa 0.

Quarters: 18-13, 31-23, 54-37, 66-55.

– Rappler.com

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