NCAA: Eyeing another Finals run, Mapua leans on deep bench for this season
MANILA, Philippines—Mapua is ready to make its NCAA men’s basketball finals bid for the second straight year with a newfound arsenal.
Cardinals head coach Randy Alcantara highlighted his team’s balanced scoring and how beneficial it will be for the his team who are deemed season contenders.
“Last season, the players who played at the start played in the middle and the end of the game, so now we give confidence to the second and third stringers,” Alcantara said after their 66-55 win against San Beda.
“I’m more confident about this team because even the third stringers can compete,” he added.
The Cardinals, as a team, recorded 12 assists in their season opener win at Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
San Beda’s starters may have scored more than Mapua’s but the Cardinals’ bench buried the Red Lions, 36-21.
Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara and Jasper Salenga after win against San Beda in the #NCAASeason98 opening day. | Rommel Fuertes/Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, September 10, 2022
In the Mapua’s 13-man lineup, only one player went scoreless with three players pitching in double digit points in the win namely Arvin Gamboa with 12, Carl Lacap with 11 and Joaquin Garcia with 10.
“Our mindset heading here is not about who will be the best player, it’s how to help the first stringers,” Jasper Salenga said. He finished the game with seven points.
Salenga also recalled their season a few months back and how tiring it was for their starters.
“We saw that last season in the bubble, they had a hard time and we wanted to help so it’s what we worked on.”