Mapua ended its losing slump by snapping Emilio Aguinaldo College’s winning streak with an 80-55 beatdown in NCAA Season 88 action Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The win improved the Cardinals’ win-loss record to 5-7, ending their two-game losing skid. The Generals, who were on a three-game winning run before the game, were sent crashing back to earth with their eighth loss against four wins.
Mark Braña scored 11 first half points to help Mapua take a 21-point lead at halftime. The Cardinals maintained their fiery start en route to a whopping 66-32 lead early in the fourth quarter off a split from the charity line from birthday boy Gab Banal.
“Matagal ko na hinihintay yung ganoong laro sa kanila. I told them we stay positive all the time. That’s our mindset,” said Mapua coach Chito Victolero.
The Cardinals were able to contain the production of EAC’s main man Noube Happi, who shot just 3-of-19 from the field. Happi averaged 18.7 points per game before the loss.
Braña, a transferee from Rizal Technological University, finished with 15 points in just 15 minutes of action for the Cardinals.
“He has the potential. Nung summer ganito na talaga linalaro nung batang yon. Nasira lang yung mindset niya nung nalaman niya na hindi sila makakalaro nung first round,” said Victolero on Braña, who missed several games early in the tournament because of eligibility issues.
Victolero said the Cardinals are motivated by the hope of making a late run for the playoffs.
“The team saw that we still had a chance. There are still a lot of challenges but we have still have a chance,” he said.
Mike Parala had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks for Mapua, while top gun Josan Nimes scored just nine points but handed out seven assists.
EAC spitfire guard Jorem Morada paced the scoring for the Generals with 16 points in 14 minutes.
In their first meeting last July 9, Mapua also prevailed over EAC, 67-63.
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