Mapua banking on preseason experience in NCAA Season 98 bid
MANILA, Philippines—Heading into the NCAA Season 98, the Mapua Cardinals made sure to get as much experience as they cold.
Months after being swept by Letran in the NCAA finals, the Cardinals went to work right away by joining two leagues before Season 98 which opens in September .
They were winless in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup but their core of Warren Bonifacio, Adrian Nocum and Arvin Gamboa spearheaded the Skippers to a PBA D-League finals appearance.
“This is a big experience for them. This is the D-League and we also faced La Salle who’s a better team. They will get a lot from that,” said Mapua head coach and Marinerong Pilipino assistant Randy Alcantara, who reached two league finals in half a year, said.
“With the support from Marinero, we will have experience and [game] plans to bring for the NCAA,” he added.
Marinerong Pilipino had eight Mapuans in their 14-man roster and they accounted for the team’s 32 points in the team’s 91-78 loss to Aspirants’ Cup holder EcoOil-La Salle.
Joaquin Garcia, Brian Lacap and Paolo Hernandez, however, did not suit up for the Skippers.
Behind league MVP Juan Gomez de Liaño’s 30 markers, Nocum produced 18 for Marinerong Pilipino, a sign of good things to come for the Season 97 finalist.
“We actually did not know we would reach this finals, so it’s a big thing for us especially for the Mapua players,” said Alcantara.
The Cardinals finished last season with a 7-2 win-loss card, bouncing San Beda University in the stepladder semifinals to face the Letran Knights in the final.