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Cards fall against Knights, 60-80

Article by: Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Graphics by: Cassius Klai C. Francisco and Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Photo by: Keith Dela Cruz

After a winning streak in their first three games in the elimination round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97, the Mapúa Cardinals marked their first loss in a battle against defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights with a 20-point deficit, 60-80, last April 8 at La Salle Green Hills.

Despite a dry spell in the first two minutes of the first quarter, the red and gold squad was able to pour in combined efforts from Point Guard Jeric James Pido and Team Captain and Forward Warren Bonifacio and caught up with the other Intramuros-based team by the half of the quarter.

As the Cardinals defended their side of the court, Knights’ Louie Sangalang was hit with a disqualifying foul for throwing the ball at the face of Cards’ Bonifacio while trying to pitch in a two-point lead. With 3 minutes and 3 seconds left in the first quarter, Cards’ Top Scorer and Shooting Guard Adrian Clarence Nocum was led out of the action for a minor injury on his right ankle. Though the Cards strived to take the lead, they fell behind with an eight-point deficit, 12-20.

The Cards then tried to catch up with the pace in the following quarter by throwing in some baskets, but the red and gold team succumbed to 32-47, as the Knights charged with a decent offense as Bonifacio worked triple on the defense in the second frame.

As Nocum recovered from his ankle sprain in the first quarter, he focused on defending their basket from the Knights. Carrying the pressure to extend their winning streak, the Cards shifted their aim to contest shots to draw closer to the opponents’ lead but failed to capitalize on offenses. The Cards were only able to put in 10 points in the third quarter, 42-63.

Photos by: Keith Dela Cruz

At the end of the fourth quarter, the Mapúa Cardinals were overpowered by the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights in their first battle with another set of Intramuros-based ballers as they came up short on their offensive play in the second half, 60-80.

Cards Guard/Forward Toby Bryan Agustin led with 14 points and 4 rebounds.

As for the Letran Knights, Jeo Ambohot emerged with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 1 block, followed by Rhenz Abando with 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists; and Brent Paraiso with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Despite slipping to 3-1 after the battle, the Cardinals remained at the top of the league’s team standings following undefeated teams CSJL Knights and San Beda University Red Lions.

The Mapúa Cardinals will strive to bounce back as they face the Arellano University Chiefs tomorrow, April 10, at 12:00 NN, in the same venue. All basketball games will air on GTV with live streaming on the social media platforms of NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports PH.

The Scores:

MU 60 – Agustin 14, Pido 9, Hernandez 8, Gamboa 6, Bonifacio 6, Garcia 6, Mercado 4, Lacap 3, Milan 2, Asuncion 2, Nocum 0, Salenga 0, Sual 0

CSJL 80 – Ambohot 16, Abando 14, Paraiso 10, Javillonar 10, Caralipio 8, Fajarito 6, Mina 5, Reyson 5, Yu 3, Guarino 3, Olivario 0, Sangalang 0

Quarter Scores: 12-20, 32-47, 42-63, 60-80

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