Also-ran Mapua snaps 11-game skid, eliminates St. Benilde | Inquirer Sports

Also-ran Mapua snaps 11-game skid, eliminates St. Benilde

/ 04:27 PM September 28, 2017

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net

Mapua finally snapped an 11-game losing skid and eliminated St. Benilde from the Final Four race with a 79-69 win in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Laurenz Victoria and Denniel Aguirre teamed up for the Cardinals’ 14-1 finishing salvo, holding the Blazers scoreless in the final 3:23.

“It’s been a long time,” quipped coach Atoy Co as he entered the press room for the first time this season.

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“I made a good decision today and I just stayed to the six players who are playing, and luckily, they were able to produce.”

Victoria uncorked seven of his 19 points in the payoff period, to go with seven assists, and four rebounds, while Aguirre added 15 markers, eight of which coming in the fourth frame, on top of nine boards and two dimes as Mapua finally tasted a victory for the first time since beating Letran, 78-75, last July 11.

JP Nieles, Cedric Pelayo, and Leo Gabo all had 11 points apiece, while Christian Buñag collared 16 rebounds to go with his six markers in the victory.

Already out of the playoff race, the Cardinals (2-12) also sent the Blazers (3-11) to an early vacation with still four games left in their schedule.

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Clement Leutcheu topped St. Benilde with 18 points and nine rebounds, while rookie Unique Naboa got 12 markers and three boards in the loss.

The Scores:

MAPUA 79 – Victoria 19, Aguirre 15, Gabo 11, Nieles 11, Pelayo 11, Buñag 6, Estrella 3, Orquina 2, Raflores 1.

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ST. BENILDE 69 – Leutcheu 18, Naboa 12, San Juan 11, Domingo 6, Dixon 5, Belgica 4, Johnson 4, Pili 3, Castor 2, Sta. Maria 2, Mercado 2.

Quarters: 20-17, 37-42, 53-55, 79-69.

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TAGS: Mapua Cardinals, NCAA, St. Benilde Blazers

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