Cardinals tangle with Generals
MAPUA seeks to tighten its grip of fourth spot as it collides with an Emilio Aguinaldo College squad desperate to stay alive in the Final Four race of the 92nd NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
With the Jose Rizal U Heavy Bombers hot on their tails, the Cardinals are hard pressed to pick up a victory in the 2 p.m. clash with the Generals, who will be eliminated from Final Four contention with a loss.
Already out of the running for spot in the postseason, San Sebastian hopes to continue its strong finish to the season as it battles winless St. Benilde at 4 p.m.
The Stags saw their four-game winning streak snapped by the Letran Knights last week, a loss that resulted in their early elimination.
The Blazers are looking for a breakthrough victory after dropping their first 14 games.
Mapua is riding high on a 101-97 overtime victory over San Beda last week in a game where Joseph Eriobu exploded for 26 points.
It was just the type of steely performance that coach Atoy Co needed as the Cardinals brace for a tough stretch in their bid for a second straight Final Four appearance.
With an 8-5 record, the Cardinals are just half a game ahead of the Bombers, who also stunned the Red Lions, 97-88, last Tuesday, in the race for the Final Four.
Standing in the way of the Cardinals is an EAC team that counts Jose Rizal U (63-60) and Lyceum (78-76) as their victims last week.
“We just want to get as many wins as possible and hope for the best,” said EAC coach Ariel Sison. “We only have three players graduating this year including two starters in Igee King and Remy Morada so this team still has a future.”
Reigning league MVP Allwell Oraeme remains Mapua’s heart and soul with 16.8 points, 19.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks an outing this season with CJ Isit as his chief support.