The Mapua Cardinals fought hard and strong in the dying seconds of their game in order to pull off a huge 74-71 upset win over the Perpetual Altas in Season 88 action of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Mapua revived their dimming chances of making it to the next round with a morale-boosting victory, their sixth win against nine setbacks, that moved them up to solo sixth place.
The Altas, who badly needed the win today, dropped to a deadlock with Letran at the 3rd and 4th spots with identical 9-6 win-loss records.
The Altas opened the game with four straight points before the Cardinals answered back with a strong 14-0 run through the leadership of Jonathan Banal who scored six of the fourteen points. A huge blow to Perpetual’s chances was the ejection of Femi Babayemi at the 6:32 mark of the first period after throwing an elbow on Mapua’s Michael Abad.
That turning point pumped up the Cardinals en route to a 24-11 edge at the end of the first ten minutes of action. A 16-0 spurt from the Altas at the tip of the second period gave the Las Pinas squad a 29-24 lead midway led by rookie Nosa Omorogbe, Anthony Paulino and George Allen. Perpetual hung onto the lead until the intermission.
A close third period had the Cardinals regaining the lead, 51-48, after three quarters through the combined explosion of Banal and Darrel Magsigay, who combined for 14 of the 21 points scored by the Cardinals. At the 9:20 mark, Mapua’s Andretti Stevens was ejected from the game for using a closed fist in a hustle play aganst Nosa Omorogbe.
“Masakit ang mga pagkatalo namin before kaya sa naging panalo today, I’m proud of them. We have a commitment to the school, our families so we have to play every single game. We will fight every game and my job is to motivate these players. We have to finish strong this season,” said Mapua coach Chito Victolero.
Another 7-0 run to open the payoff period from Perpetual momentarily gave them a 55-51 lead.
A series of exchange of baskets transpired with Perpetual last tasting the lead at 63-61 on a lucky basket by Chris Elopre, 3:22 left.
Rookie Mark Brana muscled his way to a five straight points that also gave Mapua a 66-63 lead, 2:20 remaining.
“Malaking tulong sa amin yung nawala si Babayemi kaya lang Omorogbe stepped up. We had a strong start pero problema na nung pumasok si Omorogbe, nakahabol sila. Si Omorogbe kasi, scorer, si Babayemi more like a role player,” added Victolero.
With the Cardinals leading 71-66, 1:56 remaining, back-to-back baskets from Earl Thompson put the Altas back in the game within one, 71-70, with 32 ticks left.
Josan Nimes iced the game for the Cardinals on two canned freebies off Omorogbe’s fifth foul.
“Matagal ko ng hinihintay kay Jonathan yung ganitong laro. Sabi ko sa kanya, i-enjoy lang nya yung last few moments sa college career niya,” said Victolero about the graduating Banal.
Jonathan, the son of Arellano coach Koy Banal, went 6-of-9 from the field today including four triples for 21 points, three rebounds and three steals.
“Thankful ako na binigay nila sa akin yung mga shots na yun. Ang tagal ko din hinintay tong time na to,” said Banal.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Josan Nimes added 13 and ten boards alongside six assists. Gab Banal also contributed 13 boards as the Cardinals outrebounded the Altas, 55-53.
Perpetual’s Jett Vidal led all scorers with 25 points on an 8-of-27 shooting clip from the field.
Mapua (74) — J. Banal 21, Nimes 13, Ighalo 10, G. Banal 8, Brana 6, Magsigay 6, Eriobu 5, Saitanan 2, Estrella 2, Abad 1, Stevens 0, Parala 0.
Perpetual (71) — Vidal 25, Omorogbe 10, Allen 8, Paulino 7, Thompson 6, Elopre 6, Arboleda 5, Alano 4, Babayemi 0, Jolangcob 0.
Quarterscores: 24-13, 30-36, 51-48, 74-71.