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Cards triumph over Chiefs en route to four-game streak, 67-47

Article by: Albert L. Dela Cruz
Graphics by: Andreah Faye G. Lapinid

Driven to continue their hot streak, the Mapúa Cardinals capped their fourth victory in a row as they overwhelmed the Arellano University Chiefs, 67-47, in the second bout of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 98 Men’s Basketball Tournament, last November 9, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
The Intramuros-based squad started the ball game with a pedal-to-the-metal approach. Pressuring the Chiefs’ frontcourt on defense, the Cards clinched multiple steals, attacking the paint on the offense at once. This led to their 8-0 run before the Chiefs scored their second bucket of the regulation. Despite a slight struggle on the offensive side, the yellow jerseys quickly picked up their pace and stepped up to deny the blue jerseys from leading. From fastbreak points to drawn-up three-pointers, the Cards had it all, doubling their opponents’ score by the end of the first quarter, 16-8.

The second frame started with the sharpshooting Point Guard Joaqui Garcia, dropping back-to-back three-pointers well beyond the arc. Setting the tone for the rest of the quarter, Garcia continued to pour bucket after bucket, including a catch-and-shoot three from the wing and two pull-up jumpers from the mid-range. As the Chiefs scrambled to get back, the Cards’ dynamic offense dwindled their hopes and extended the lead to double digits, concluding the first half, 36-21.

Remaining relentless on their defense and eager for baskets, the Mapúa ballers stuck to their game plan. Opening the second half, King Cardinal Warren Bonifacio’s successful basket, followed by Point Guard Jeric James Pido’s trey extended their lead to 20 points at the 8:27 mark of the third quarter. Despite the Chiefs implementing a full-court press, the home team simply answered back with finesse and grit, scrapping for loose balls and savvy with their finishing and ending the third with a 24-point cushion, 52-28.

The story of the game did not change in the deciding quarter as the red and gold squad’s dominance exhausted the Sampaloc troop throughout the game. Seeing the opposing team's attempts to lessen the gap, Shooting Guard Adrian Clarence Nocum delivered a quick bucket to surpass their team’s biggest lead in the season to 28 points. Gasping for their last breath, the Chiefs were left scrambling to score, but the Cards’ solid tactic choked out the enemies, concluding the game with a hefty 20-point lead, 67-47. They dominated the game through and through, handing the Chiefs the record for the lowest endgame total for the current season so far, which the Cards also gave to the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers in their 74-49 victory last November 2.

With his consistent shooting and reliable defense, Joaqui Garcia earned the Best Player of the Game title in back-to-back games, dropping 13 points shooting three out of six from the rainbow arc, along with two rebounds and a steal. Coming in close were Nocum,  with 10 points, nine boards, and five assists, and Forward Jomer Mercado who put in 10 points, six boards, and three assists.

Following the game, Head Coach Randy Alcantara  emphasized the importance of grit when checked-in the hardcourt. “Number one syempre yung aggressiveness […]  kung yung starters nagpakita ng ganyan, yung second unit at third unit, kahit sinong gamitin, eh kailangan mahiya naman kayo dun sa nagstart na ganon yung energy,” he also recognized the bench’s significant contribution and effort.

“...Ready lang dapat lahat […] wala naman tayong ibang gagawin kung hindi lumaro at lumaban d’yan na may puso,” Coach Alcantara reacted when he was asked to comment on the 44-point output of the Cardinals’ bench.

After stretching  their winning streak to four games, the home team improved their standing to 6-9, while the Arellano Chiefs posting the same 6-9 slate.

The Mapúa Cardinals will attempt to scratch their seventh win of the season as they clash against the San Beda University Red Lions tomorrow, November 12, at 3:00 PM, at the same venue. Future games can be watched on GTV with livestreaming on the social media pages of NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports PH. In-person audience can also purchase tickets through or at the venue’s ticket booth.

The Scores:
MU 67 – Garcia 13, Nocum 10, Mercado 10, Hernandez 8, Cuenco 8, Pido 5, Agustin 5, Bonifacio 3, Soriano 2, Salenga 2, Lacap 1, Igliane 0
AU 47 – Menina 10, Doromal 10, Abastillas 8, Tolentino 6, Sunga 4, Mallari 3, Oftana 3, Mantua 2, Talampas 1, Oliva 0
Quarter Scores: 16-8, 36-21, 52-28, 67-47
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