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Cards outlast Heavy Bombers, 59-56

Article by: Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

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

Photo by: Sophia Lorraine Estabaya

Last April 1, the Mapúa Cardinals left no room for jokes as they disarmed the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers, 59-56, and secured their second straight win in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97 at La Salle Green Hills.

While the Heavy Bombers struggled to find their rhythm, the Cardinals were eager to extend their lead. Point Guard Enrico Joaquin Garcia, Small Forward Ferdinand Asuncion, Jr., Guard/Forward Toby Bryan Agustin, and Shooting Guard Paolo Hernandez attempted to pour in three-point baskets but fell short in the remaining two minutes of the quarter. The Cards still paced the first quarter of the game, 18-11.

Despite a heated exchange of baskets, the red and gold team maintained their lead for the succeeding quarter, 29-21.

The Heavy Bombers managed to minimize the gap between the team scores at the start of the second half; however, the Cards did not back down, still overpowering the blue and yellow at the end of the third quarter, 41-38.

In the last quarter, a disqualifying foul was called on Forward Arvin Gamboa for hitting opponent RJ Arenal’s face with his elbow while in possession of the ball. Despite their struggles, Hernandez pulled off a much-needed three-point shot for the Cardinals to slip past their opponents with 40 seconds left in the game.

As tension rose inside the court, the Heavy Bombers still attempted to regain control over the ball but failed to stop the Cardinals’ momentum. With Bonifacio’s two successful free throws, the Cards finished off with 59-56, disposing the Heavy Bombers.

Hernandez powered the Cards with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, Team Captain and Player of the Game Warren Bonifacio added 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 1 assist; and rookie Toby Bryan Agustin chipped in 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist.

John Delos Santos and Evan Agbong scored in double digits for the Heavy Bombers. Delos Santos poured in 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists while Agbong contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Joining Letran Knights and San Beda Red Lions at the peak of the team rankings, the Mapúa Cardinals improved to 2-0 while the JRU Heavy Bombers surrendered to 0-2 after the battle.

In a post-game interview, Team Captain Bonifacio stated that they consider this season as their “revenge year” since the team was not able to secure a spot in the Final Four in the previous season.

Bonifacio also shared that he advised his teammates to bounce back in defense when the Heavy Bombers were taking the lead in the game.

“Hindi kami bumitaw nung huli, lalo na nung fourth quarter. Mas lalong humigpit iyong depensa namin kaya nakuha namin ang panalo,” he conveyed.

After claiming their second win in the league, the Mapúa Cardinals will take on the San Sebastian College – Recoletos Golden Stags tomorrow, April 5, 12:00 NN, at 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 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 – De Los Santos 11, Agbong 10, Celis 8, Arenal 8, Dionisio 5, Jungco 4, Bongay 2, Aguilar 2, Gonzales, Glenn 2, Macatangay 2, Guiab 2, Gonzales CJ 0

Quarter Scores: 18-11, 29-21, 41-38, 59-56

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