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Cards overtake Blazers in tie-breaker match, 84-65

Article by: Crismhil S. Anselmo
Graphics by: Cassius Klai C. Francisco and Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Eager to secure the third spot in the current team standings of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97, the Mapúa Cardinals overthrew the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers, 84-65, last April 19, at La Salle Green Hills.

The first quarter started off hot with both teams performing on the offense in response to each basket thrown. As strong defensive teams, the game grew hawkish as the red and gold squad committed unsportsmanlike fouls which were called on Point Guards Enrico Joaquin Garcia and Jeric James Pido just a few minutes in. Even so, the Cards charged on and blocked the Blazers’ attempt to mark one point ahead, ending the first quarter at a 19-19 tie.

While the opponent team suffered a seven-minute drought, the Mapúa ballers were poised for a 15-point lead. Despite a slower pace on the buckets within the remaining minutes of the first half, the Cards limited the Blazers’ field goals as they blocked offensive plays at the green side, 39-30, in favor of the red jerseys.

The Intramuros-based team entered the third quarter with a healthy lead despite their foul trouble as the game progressed due to Shooting Guard Adrian Nocum’s unsportsmanlike foul. As they showcased their teamwork with smooth passes, the Cards sustained their lead with buckets raining on their ring from both starters and bench players. They went on full throttle, breezing through the Taft-based squad’s defenses.

At 2:29, Shooting Guard Paolo Hernandez shot on the perimeter as he was fouled by CSB Blazer Miguel Corteza, earning the Batangas-born player one more shot on the free-throw line. The Cards overpowered the Blazers in the third quarter, 62-47.

As they committed more fouls at the start of the last quarter, the Muralla squad capitalized on their offenses by playing basket after basket. Team Captain Warren Bonifacio, Forward Arvin Gamboa, and Power Forward Jomer Mercado threw in the towel as they maxed out their personal fouls with just a few minutes left in the game. The tension laid low when both teams went over their penalty cards. With a closing free throw from Pido, the Cards marked another victory with a 19-point lead, 84-65.

Shooting Guard Carl Brian Lacap was deemed Player of the Game with 22 points, four steals, four rebounds, and two assists. Hernandez followed with 17 points, two steals, seven boards, and two assists while Nocum scored 14 points, two steals, six boards, and one assist.

Blazer Will Gozum led with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and one assist, followed by Corteza who contributed 11 points and four rebounds, and AJ Benzon with 10 points, two rebounds, and two assists.

The Cardinals broke the third-place tie with the Blazers in the league’s team standings, taking home a 5-2 win-loss record. Meanwhile, The Blazers dropped to a 4-3.

During a post-game interview, Lacap shared the secret behind the strength of their long-distance shooting was practice. “Sabi ng coaches namin, kailangan namin i-improve 'yung tiwala namin sa isa't isa. Kailangan namin magtiwala sa kanila na 'pag mas open 'yung sa labas, ibigay namin, kasi nagpa-practice naman kami every day,” he conveyed.

For their eighth game in the league’s elimination round, the Mapúa Cardinals will attempt to dominate over the San Beda Red Lions tomorrow, April 23, at 12:00 PM, in the same venue. Upcoming games will still air on GTV with live streaming on the respective social media platforms of NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports PH.

The Scores:
MU   84 – Lacap 22, Hernandez 17, Nocum 14, Agustin 9, Gamboa 8, Pido 6, Mercado 4, Bonifacio 4, Asuncion 0, Salenga 0, Milan 0, Garcia 0, Soriano 0
CSB 65 – Gozum 13, Corteza 11, Benson 10, Carlos 8, Nayve 6, Davis 5, Marcos 4, Cullar 4, Lepalam 3, Flores 1, Mosqueda 0, Sangco 0, Publico 0, Lim 0
Quarter Scores: 19-19, 39-30, 62-47, 84-65
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