Cardinals Win, Dela Peña proves his worth

11 07 2007

Finally, KELVIN Dela Peña has proven his worth. But can he do it consistently throughout the series?

Dela Peña netted 10 of his 19 points in the final quarter as Mapua snapped a three-game losing streak with an 86-80 come-from-behind win over the JRU Heavy Bombers in the 83rd NCAA senior men’s basketball at the Arena in San Juan City.

Crawling for the most part of the game, the Cardinals leaned on their steady free throw shooting as they recorded 38-out-of-53 attempts from the foul line – probably the highest number of free throws given to any team so far. And eventually handed the Heavy Bombers their second loss in three games.

MIT committed only 17 fouls. The Heavy Bombers on the other hand had 8-of-12 from the Free Throw line.

“We’re lucky. Finally we earned our first victory,” said Cardinals head coach Leo Isaac. “The boys played aggressively because they want to win. And they got what they deserve.”

Mapua though still remains at the bottom of the standings with a 1-3 slate.

Dela Peña scored a basket in the final 2 minutes. Mapua then regained the edge, 80-78, before Jayson Nocom of JRU tied it at 80-all with 45 seconds left.

From there, the Heavy Bombers failed to score. Not even a single field goal. Neil Pascual and Sean Co combined for six free throws to eventually claim the win. “My shots were going in, so I became more confident,” said Dela Peña.

Neil Pascual made 18 on a 12-of-14 shooting from the foul line and nine rebounds. Sean Co had made 7-of-8 from the stripe for 14 points and Jerby del Rosario contributed 13 points – nine from the free throw line.

John Wilson was the main man for the Heavy Bombers with 20 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Hayes had a double-double performance with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

JRU out-rebounded the Cardinals, 55-44. Mapua took a 10-2 early lead when Dela Peña delivered an outlet pass to Co for an unmolested transition basket with 6:24 in the clock.

Agas scored two three-pointers to slice down the lead, 12-16, and forced MIT mentor Leo Isaac to call a timeout with less than three minutes to go in regulation.

Wilson and Nocom started a 10-3 streak to take the upper hand halfway thru second quarter, 28-24. But Pascual was able to even the score at 28-all. Maui Pradas’ hangtime move for a, 39-35 score with 3:15 remaining before halftime.

JRU uncorked a 9-2 run, capped by a Mark Cagoco trey in the final seconds of the third for a 65-57 bubble by the end of the quarter. The Cardinals never say die attitude made the win possible.

Individual scores:

MIT (86) – Dela Peña 19, Pascual 18, Co 14, Del Rosario 13, Banal 8, Sumalinog 7, Acosta 5, Guillermo 2, Palomique 0.

JRU (80) – Wilson 20, Hayes 14, Agas 11, Pradas 8, Nocom 7, Sena 6, Cunanan 4, Cagoco 3, Kabigting 3, Bulangis 2, Se 2, Montemayor 0, Ramos 0, Lituania 0.

Quarter Scores: 19-16; 40-39; 57-65; 86-80




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