NCAA: Victoria’s game-winner lifts woeful Mapua past JRU in thriller
Laurenz Victoria displayed the warrior’s mentality and saved Mapua in the end game for a 81-79 victory over Jose Rizal University in the NCAA Season 94 men’s basketball tournament Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Cardinals’ sweet shooter had his name all over the game-winning jumper that he shot over the defense of Jed Mendoza with just 0.7 seconds left in the game.
Mapua’s last-second victory snapped a six-game winning streak as the Cardinals improved to 3-8.
Cardinals head coach Atoy Co said he told his players to calm down especially in tense situations so they can find the best scoring opportunities.
“With my experience, the more you look for your shot, the basket just gets smaller and you’ll likely miss the shot,” said Co in Filipino. “I just told them to play defense and you will be relaxed by the time you have to score.”
JRU had a chance to tie the game but JR Aguilar’s jumper bounced off the rim after hitting the square of the backboard.
Mapua’s game-winner wasn’t the only clutch shot Victoria made as he had a big three-pointer with 1:04 left in the game that put the Cardinals up 79-74.
Victoria’s three could’ve been the dagger but ill-advised foul calls and a technical foul on Mapua assistant coach Randy Alcantara awarded the Heavy Bombers five free throws in a span of less than 40 seconds.
Mark Mallari dutifully made those free throws to tie he game at 79 with 21.5 seconds left in the game.
Mallari led the Cardinals’ offense with 17 points while also clamping down on JRU’s Mendoza who had 19 first-half points but finished the game with 22.
Warren Bonifacio had 13 points to add to Mapua’s tally while Noah Lugo and Cedric Pelayo had 10 points apiece.