Mapua Institute of Technology bagged the last Fi-nal Four slot with a come-from-behind, 69-59 win over College of Saint Benilde in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City on Thursday.
Nigerian Allwell Oraeme registered 10 of his 16 points in the second half on top of 19 rebounds and two blocks while Joseph Eriobu contributed 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the
field. The Cardinals’ win-loss record improved to 11-5.
Carlos Isit, Justin Serrano and Darell Menina chipped in eight points apiece for the Cardinals.
Mapua struggled in the early part of the game lagging behind, 11-18, but was able to close the gap, 29-31, at halftime. The Cardinals outscored the Blazers in the third, 21-15, and fourth quarter, 19-13, to seal the win.
The Blazers remained winless in 16 games.
The Cardinals can still get a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four if they beat University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (11-5) and Arellano University (13-3) in their remaining games.
In the first match, San Sebastian College capitalized on a strong start to post a lopsided, 87-71, win over Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) improving its win-loss record to 7-10. The Golden Stags played valiantly though they were already out of the Final Four race.
Power forward Michael Calisaan led the Golden Stags with 22 points, 10 of which were posted in the first quarter, plus 14 rebounds while guard Allyn Bulunadi and RK Ilagan contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively, also for San Sebastian.
“We just have to win our remaining games and we’re happy as a young team to accomplish winning. We will treat our last game with the same winning attitude,” San Sebasti·n College coach Egay Macaraya told The Manila Times.
San Sebastian will play its last game against Jose Rizal University in the elimination round next week. Asked if he’s satisfied of his team’s performance despite not reaching the Final Four, Macaraya said, “We could have done better but I’m happy.”
Jerrick Fabian posted 12 points plus 10 rebounds while Ryan Costelo had 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds also for the Golden Stags.
“It is really tough to compete against teams with import but the players are able to do that throughout the season.”
San Sebasti·n erected a 29-16 lead at the start of second period behind Calisaan’s impressive play. The Generals tried to retaliate but could only trim the deficit, 31-39, at halftime.
Ilagan came out hot in the third canto scoring nine points to ignite San Sebasti·n’s 28-21 run. San Sebastian grabbed the lead 67-52 entering the last period. Calisaan and Fabian merged for 17 points in the last period to seal the win.
The Golden Stags registered more rebounds (56-43), more assists (16-8) and more triples (10-2) than the Generals.
Swingman Sidney Onwubere led EAC with 19 points, while Hamidou Laminou added 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Generals’ win-loss record dropped to 5-11.