Mapua shocks Letran to strengthen F4 hopes

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WATCH ME TWERK  Mapua’s Josan Nimes (left) and Letran’s Mark Cruz go toe to toe during the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 91 men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City. PHOTO BY OSWALD LAVINA

WATCH ME TWERK
Mapua’s Josan Nimes (left) and Letran’s Mark Cruz go toe to toe during the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 91 men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City. PHOTO BY OSWALD LAVINA

Mapua Institute of Technology stunned Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 82-77, to stretch its winning streak to five games in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 91 men’s basketball at The Arena in San Juan City.

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Nigerian Allwell Oraeme carried the Cardinals to their ninth victory by posting 18 points and hauling down career-high 30 rebounds. He also had three steals and three blocks.

The Cardinals played without head coach Atoy Co, who is currently serving a two-game suspension. It was Mapua’s first win against Letran since 2010.

Nonetheless, Letran kept its hold of the top spot with an 11-3 win-loss record.

In the first game, Jose Rizal University (JRU) overcame a lethargic start to pull off a close 73-69 victory over the already-eliminated College of Saint Benilde and keep its Final Four hopes alive.

Shooting guard Bernabe “Tey” Teodoro tallied 17 points with six rebounds and three assists including a huge steal and a lay up in the crucial seconds of the game, while Paolo Pontejos added 13 points to send the Heavy Bombers to their eighth win in 14 games.

“There is still hope but we really need to win our next four games,” said JRU mentor Vergel Meneses, referring to their next assignments – Letran on Friday, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta on September 25, Lyceum on September 29 and San Sebastian College on October 2.

Teodoro also made a free throw to provide his team a two-point lead before stealing the ball off Travis Jonson and scored a wide-open lay-up in the dying seconds and sealed the victory.

“Even if he struggles in his game, he will be there because he’s still my man, it’s as simple as that,” added Meneses.

Big man Abdoul Poutouchi registered 13 points and 15 rebounds, while John Grospe and Marco Balagtas added 10 points each for the Heavy Bombers.

The win also kept JRU one and a half games behind No. 4 Perpetual (9-4).

Forward Jonathan Grey scored a game-high 34 points but wasn’t enough to carry Benilde to victory.

The Blazers suffered their 11th loss against three wins.

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