Mapua ends second round on bright note, whips CSB

22 08 2007

EVEN though some unexpected scenarios overshadowed their victory, Mapua has stayed on track for a possible crack at the Final Four after winning its last four games.

The Cardinals kept everything in control from start to finish en route to an important 84-71 triumph over the College of Saint Benilde Blazers in the 83rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Mapua, with the win, finished its campaign with a 6-6 card to remain in fourth place, followed by San Sebastian College at 4-5.

Team leader Kelvin Dela Peña delivered an impressive performance anew, scoring a game-high 26 points, grabbing 10 boards, dishing out eight assists and snatching five steals in 34 minutes of action.

“There were a lot of things that happened in just 24 hours,” said Dela Peña. “But what’s important is that we are on track especially today, our last game.”

Dela Peña unloaded his first 11 points in the opening quarter, giving the Cardinals a 22-8 bubble with still 4:02 minutes to go. They maintained the lead to the start the next period, 28-20, despite the Blazers’ 14-0 counter attack. Mapua’s balance attack had shutdown Saint Benilde’s rock-solid defense.

Hermes Sumalinog took an off-balance triple with 1:09 minutes left in the second quarter to close the halftime at 44-35.

Kris Robles, who erupted for 20 points to lead the Blazers, tallied 11 in the third including two successive treys, as CSB came up within 55-53 with 1:32 minutes to go.

But the Cardinals unleashed a grand finale, outscoring the Blazers in the last quarter, 25-16, to preserve the win.

Jerby Del Rosario had 22 points, while Sean Co made 14 points and Mark Acosta registered eight also for the Cardinals.

“We followed our plan and we made it,” said Cardinals coach Leo Isaac. “All we can do now is wait for the outcome of San Sebastian’s three remaining games.”

San Sebastian currently at fifth place at 4-5 must win two of its three remaining games to forge a playoff berth for the last spot in the Final Four.

If the Stags sweep their three remaining games, it will be a goodbye for the Cardinals as San Sebastian will move to fourth place.

Individual scores:

MIT (84) – Dela Peña 26, Del Rosario 22, Co 14, Acosta 8, Banal 6, Pascual 5, Sumalinog 3, Guillermo 0.

CSB (71) – Robles 20, Johnston 10, Sevilla 10, Layug 8, Porras 8, Cabatu 4, Cadiz 4, Manlapaz 3, David 2, Montecastro 2.

Quarter Scores: 28-20; 44-35; 59-55; 84-71

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