NCAA: Mapua Cardinals heave sigh of relief after much-needed win
MANILA, Philippines—After losing eight straight games in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament, Mapua coach Randy Alcantara believes their most recent win could be the turning point of the Cardinals’ campaign.
The Cardinals defeated Emilio Aguinaldo College on Saturday, 67-55, which gave them a much-needed confidence boost after being winless for the majority of the first round.
“This is such a big win. Like I said, this is where we can start our string of wins. Hopefully, this keeps up and we get our next assignment but it’s hard because every team is tough,” Alcantara said.
“Every team improved, everybody strengthened. I give them credits because this season, the competition is balanced,” he added.
It has been a surprising season thus far, as Mapua, last season’s finalist, is stuck at the bottom of the standings while last year’s bottom feeder, Jose Rizal University, is established in the upper rankings with five wins and two losses.
The Cardinals, however, were caught in a pile of controversies at the start of the season which rendered their opening win against San Beda useless after fielding an ineligible player in Gab Gamboa.
Since the issue surfaced, Mapua looked lost in the basketball court but Alcantara clarified that it was not a huge factor in the team’s lackluster performances.
“It’s [controversies] just a small factor. Our performance and energy is the one that should be improved. If we lost, we lost,” he explained.
“We have no excuses. It had its effect but the show must go on, as they say. They have to be ready, every time. My players, they don’t control the situation as well,” the head tactician clarified.
The Season 97 frontrunners will end the first round with a 1-8 record, just above the host team Generals, who are still winless after seven games.