NCAA basketball

Mapua denies San Beda comeback, nears end of 32-year NCAA title drought

JR Isaga

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Mapua denies San Beda comeback, nears end of 32-year NCAA title drought

ROARING. Mapua guard Clint Escamis reacts in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament


Presumptive NCAA MVP Clint Escamis battles late cramps to still lead Mapua to a crucial Season 99 finals opening game win over rallying San Beda

MANILA, Philippines – The Mapua Cardinals now stand within a game of clinching their first NCAA men’s basketball title in 32 long years after denying a late comeback by the resurgent San Beda Red Lions, 68-63, in Game 1 of the Season 99 finals at the packed Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, December 6.

Presumptive MVP Clint Escamis battled cramps for much of the second half and finished with a game-high 18 points plus 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists, while fellow veteran guard Paolo Hernandez added 16 points and 12 boards.

From down 21-29 in the second quarter after an early San Beda surge, Mapua slowly recomposed for the rest of the first half and hammered down a 15-2 finishing kick, ending with a last-second Clint Escamis layup for the 36-31 advantage at intermission.

From there, the Cardinals took full control and swooped as high as 16, 59-43, off a pair of Jopet Soriano free throws with 23 seconds left in the third.

Although San Beda clawed its way back in the fourth, inching as close as three, 63-66, off a pair of Oliver Tagle free throws, Escamis was there to save the day as he sealed the deal from the line, 68-63, after corralling a potential game-tying three from Jacob Cortez in the waning seconds.

“We’re glad that we got the first game in the series,” said Mapua captain Warren Bonifacio, filling in for absent head coach Randy Alcantara and ill assistant Yong Garcia. “But that’s not where it ends. The job is not done, so we need to practice still.”

“We have to prepare for Game 2. We know San Beda will bounce back and start strong in Game 2. We just have to be ready.”

Rookie standout Peter Rosillo also came up big in the win, notching 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

James Payosing paced the loss with a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double as sixth man forward Jomel Puno chipped in 12 points and 9 boards.

Cortez, San Beda’s leading scorer in the eliminations, was held to 12 points on a paltry 3-of-17 shooting as the Red Lions overall shot blanks from three to the tune of a 5-of-32 clip.

Mapua now needs to keep its fire alive in the next few days as it tries to close out its ever-dangerous foe on Sunday, December 10, 2 pm, at the same venue.

The Scores

Mapua 68 – Escamis 18, Hernandez 16, Rosillo 15, Bonifacio 15, Bonifacio 6, Recto 5, Cuenco 4, Soriano 4, Fornis 0, Dalisay 0.

San Beda 63 – Payosing 14, Puno 12, Cortez 12, Andrada 8, Jopia 8, Tagle 5, Cuntapay 2, Visser 2, Alfaro 0, Gonzales 0, Royo 0, Gallego 0.

Quarters: 17-17; 36-31; 59-48; 68-63.


Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!