The Bleachers


Mapua Cardinals stayed unbeaten after outlasting Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers, 59-56, in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97 seniors basketball tournament, Friday at La Salle Greenhills.

/ 2 April 2022

Paolo Hernandez’s heroic gameplay stole the control of the game from JRU as he capped a triple, adding to the 14-4 run of the Mapua and thereby taking the lead with a 57-53 advantage with 41.9 seconds remaining in the game.

It was a huge development for the Cardinals as they fiddle away a 14-point advantage from the first half, but the Heavy Bombers tried to recover with Marwin Dionisio’s triple to bring JRU to within a point. 

Warren Bonifacio answered back and stretched Mapua’s lead back to three with a pair of free throws with 8.7 ticks left.

JRU then missed the chance for overtime as Jason Celis blew off a triple, giving the Cardinals the victory and joined the San Beda University Red Lions and the defending champions Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights on top of the team standings with similar 2-0 standings. 

Hernandez paced the Cardinals with 13 points and seven rebounds, Bonifacio added 12 points and 11 boards, Toby Agustin scored nine points and five boards, and Adrian Nocum had eight points, 10 rebounds, and two assists. 

Meanwhile, JL delos Santos delivered 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals for JRU who are winless in two games. 

The Cardinals will try to extend their straight win against the San Sebastian College Golden Stags on Tuesday at 12 p.m, while the Heavy Bombers take on the Red Lions on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Scores:

MAPUA 59 Hernandez 13, Bonifacio 12, Agustin 9, Nocum 8, Lacap 8, Gamboa 4, Sual 3, Pido 2, Mercado 0, Garcia 0, Soriano 0, Asuncion 0.

JRU 56 Delos Santos 11, Agbong 10, Celis 8, Arenal 8, Dionisio 5, Jungco 4, Bongay 2, Aguilar 2, G. Gonzales 2, Macatangay 0, Guiab 2, C. Gonzales 0.

Quarters: 18-11, 29-21, 41-38, 59-56.