Cardinals on track towards F4

10 08 2007

IF there’s one guy who can take the Cardinals to another level, it’s Kelvin Dela Peña.

Mapua seemingly rode on Dela Peña’s back to crush San Sebastian College, 80-71, on Friday to stay on track for a possible semifinal slot in the 83rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Cardinals have moved to fourth place after improving to 4-6 record and solidified their campaign in the Final Four. Te Stags on the other hand absorbed thier fifth loss against three wins and place fifth.

Dela Peña registered 14 of his 19 points in second half along with seven rebounds and six assists, while Sean Co poured in 16 points and Jerby Del Rosario had 14 and nine boards to help the Cardinals complete thier back-to-back wins this week. The Cardinals came from an 89-82 win over Letran last Wednesday.

Rookie playmaker Jonathan Banal, who made 11 points, sealed Mapua’s victory when he converted two charities off Raymundo’s foul for a 76-69 edge with 39.1 seconds left.

“I just wonder how lucky am I when I have a bunch of guys who remain fighting despite of our disadvantages in the team standings,” said Cardinals head coach Leo Isaac. “It is timely that we are learning to play team basketball at the right time.”

“Most of our players wanted the individual glory.”

The Cardinals missed only three attempts from the line – 22-out-of-25 free throws.

Jimbo Aquino had 22 points, while John Raymundo made 16 and Jason Ballesteros had a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds including four blocked shots.

When San Sebastian tailed a bit closer, 67-69, after Pamboy Raymundo made a lay-up, Dela Peña nailed a triple for a 72-67 Mapua lead, with 1:13 minutes left.

After both teams exchanged free throws to make it 74-69, the Stags failed to convert when Raymundo missed his driving lay-up.

The Cardinals milked the remaining minutes and hit three more baskets, sealing the important win.

“Now we are learning to play as a team”, Coach Leo Isaac said after the game. “After our game against JRU, we realized that we have to play as a team”, Coach Isaac Added.

MIT – 80

De la Pena 19, Co 16 Del Rosario 14, Banal 11, Guillermo 7, Pascual 6, Sumalinog4, Acosta 3

SSC-R – 71

Aquino 22, Raymundo 16, Ballesteros 13, Viray 9, Bulawan 7, De Leon 4, Najorda 0, Delgado 0, Quiamco 0, Zulueta 0

Quarter Scores: 18-20, 36-34, 52-55, 80-71

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