Cards boost s’final hopes
But Altas put game under protestBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Jonathan Banal fired a season-high 21 points to propel Mapua past Perpetual Help, 74-71, Monday night and keep the Cardinals in the hunt for a Final Four berth in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Playing his last season for the Cardinals, Banal knocked in the biggest shots in the final period as Mapua moved up to sixth spot at 6-9 with three games remaining in their schedule.
“We’re not thinking about the Final Four, but it’s important for us to play as hard as we can every game,” said Mapua coach Chito Victolero.
But Perpetual Help put the game under protest when team captain Anthony Paulino signed the scoresheet.
NCAA Management Committee chair Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran said the school has two working days to formalize its protest.
Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario told the Inquirer it was not his decision to put the game under protest, but the management of Perpetual Help.
The Altas had two players ejected from the game in Femi Babayemi who was dismissed for a disqualifying foul and Justin Alano for “inciting the crowd.”
The loss was a big blow for the Altas, who were looking to win their games against Mapua and Lyceum and play without the burden of beating powerhouse teams San Beda and San Sebastian in their last two assignments.
Playing all but one minute of the game, Jett Vidal finished with 25 points for Perpetual Help, which dropped to 9-6 for a share of third spot with Letran and second-game winner Jose Rizal University.
John Lopez rose to the challenge with 19 points as JRU ended a three-game slide with a 62-56 dumping of St. Benilde.
MAPUA 74—J. Banal 21, Nimes 13, Ighalo 10, G. Banal 8, Brana 6, Magsigay 6, Eriobu 5, Saitanan 2, Estrella 2, Abad 1, Stevens 0, Parala 0.
PERPETUAL HELP 71—Vidal 25, Omorogbe 10, Allen 8, Paulino 7, Thompson 6, Elopre 6, Arboleda 5. Alano 4, Babayemi 0, Jolangcob 0.
Quarters: 24-13, 30-36, 51-48, 74-71