NCAA: Mapua remains unbeaten, staves off San Sebastian rally | Inquirer Sports
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NCAA: Mapua remains unbeaten, staves off San Sebastian rally

/ 03:51 PM April 05, 2022
Mapua Cardinals NCAA

Mapua Cardinals during a game against the San Sebastian Stags in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Photo from NCAA

MANILA, Philippines—Mapua overcame San Sebastian’s fightback from 19 points down to score a 65-59 win to remain perfect in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the La Salle Greenhills Gym Tuesday.

For the second straight game, Paolo Hernandez came up big for the Cardinals, knocking down a clutch triple to make it 62-55 with 1:39 left.

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With the win, Mapua rose to 3-0 to join defending champion Letran and San Beda on top of the standings.

The Cardinals posted their biggest lead of the game, 47-28, when the Stags stormed back and threatened at 55-59, after a JM Calma basket entering the two-minute mark.

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Warren Bonifacio, Mapua’s tallest guy on the floor, finished with a double-double output of 16 points and 14 rebounds.

The Cardinals’ frontline needs to double their effort when they face Intramuros neighbor Knights on Friday, especially with the likes of Mark Sangalang and Jeo Ambohot.

“Nire-ready ko na lang yung bigs. Palakasan na lang talaga ng katawan at loob. Yung height nandiyan na sa kanila,” said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara.

“Gagawan na lang namin ulit ng paraan para yung ibang aspect ng game eh makuha namin. Kailangan pa namin trabahuhin talaga,” he added.

Brian Lacap added 14 points, three assists and three boards while Hernandez, who went 3-of-10 from the field, contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Cardinals.

Ichie Altamirano had 10 points while Calma also scored 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds for San Sebastian, which fell in a tie with Arellano University and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta at 1-2.

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