NCAA: Mapua starting to hit ‘panic mode’ after 1-4 start, admits Paolo Hernandez

Mapua Cardinals during the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball opener.

FILE–Mapua Cardinals during the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball opener. –TRISTAN TAMAYO/

MANILA, Philippines—Last year’s finalist Mapua is slowly going into panic mode four games into the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament.

With high expectations following the Cardinals after last season, the team has dropped to the ninth seed holding a 1-4 win-loss record. 

“It (standings) worries us, we’re in panic mode a bit but we’ll keep going. Hopefully in the next game we can recover. The ball is round. Anything can happen, every team can win or lose. They’re competitive,” Paolo Hernandez said after their 67-62 defeat to Letran on Tuesday.

“We’re disappointed but we’ll keep going. We’ll continue to grind and we’ll do our best in the next games,” he added.

Ever since winning its season opener against San Beda, the Cardinals have dropped four of their following games.

To add salt to Mapua’s wounds, the point differential of its defeats total to just 4.25 points per loss.

Like the Knights, however, the Cardinals are also getting used to the new house rules of the NCAA.

“Actually, we’ve long been adjusting with the referees. We don’t know what’s right and not, right or wrong call, but it’s all about adjustments. We talked to the refs about what’s right but today, breaks of the game showed up,” he explained.

Letran was a victim of the new NCAA rules when referees reviewed a play with already two possessions after. Paraiso was slapped with a technical foul due to “act of violence.”

The Cardinals will look to get their rhythm back against Jose Rizal University, which holds a 2-2 record, on Friday.