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Cards slip under Chiefs’ comeback, 63-72

Article by: Reine Amabel J. Jaruda

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

The Mapúa Cardinals marked their second straight loss in the elimination round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97 as they struggled to break free from Arellano University (AU) Chiefs’ control, 63-72, last April 10, at La Salle Green Hills.

Hoping to bounce back from their recent loss against the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights last April 8, the Cardinals muddled to start the first quarter strong. The Intramuros-based team sought to sustain an airtight defense, keeping the gap close within the 5-minute mark of the first quarter. However, the Sampaloc-based team managed to lead with four points at the end of the quarter after the Chiefs’ Art Oliva managed to shoot two successful treys, 19-23.

Starting the second quarter, Mapúa’s Forward Arvin Gamboa managed to shoot seven points with the help of Captain Ball Warren Bonifacio, bringing back a toe-to-toe play between the two teams. The Chiefs quickly caught up their deficit with a 7-0 run and maintained the lead until the end of the quarter, 35-41.

As the red and gold team struggled to keep up with the opposing team’s Justin Arana, they shifted their game plan to create a tighter defense in the second half of the match and improve their decision-making in the offense. While the Mapúa team managed to take offense, missed shots from the players left it difficult for them to catch up to the hungry Chiefs, 48-56.

The Intramuros-based squad slowly regained their momentum by the 4-minute mark of the last quarter, minimizing the gap between the team scores to two points. Pressured by leading further, the Chiefs heightened their defense and capitalized on offenses with a ten-point streak. Hence, the Cards were left with no room to escape the Chiefs’ control, 63-72.

Bonifacio led the Cards with 11 points,10 rebounds, and 1 assist, the only Mapúan who single-handedly scored double-digits in the game. Point Guard Jeric James Pido then contributed 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists while Shooting Guard Adrian Clarence Nocum chipped in 9 points and 1 rebound to the scoreboard.

Meanwhile, Chiefs’ Justin Arana paced his team with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Jordan Sta. Ana poured in 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists while Art Oliva tallied 10 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, and 1 block.

After the crucial battle, the Mapúa Cardinals fell to a 3-2 win-loss stint while the AU Chiefs improved to 2-3. Though the Cardinals suffered their two-strike loss, they maintained their spot in the Top 5 of the league’s team rankings.

The Mapúa Cardinals will attempt to claim their fourth win in a match against the Perpetual Altas tomorrow at 3:00 PM in the same venue. All NCAA basketball games will be aired on GTV and streamed live on the NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports PH social media platforms.

The Scores:

MU 63 – Bonifacio 11, Pido 9, Nocum 9, Garcia 8, Agustin 7, Gamboa 7, Hernandez, 7, Lacap 5, Mercado 0, Asuncion 0, Sual 0, Salenga, 0, Milan 0

AU 72 – Arana 17, Sta. Ana 15, Oliva 10, Doromal 9, Carandang 6, Sablan 4, Uri 4, Caballero 3, Cruz 2, Dela Cruz 2, Valencia 0

Quarter Scores: 23-19, 41-35, 56-48, 72-63

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