Mapua University turned to Paolo Hernandez’s clutch plays in the closing seconds to essay a 75-71 escape over luckless College of Saint Benilde in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 99 seniors basketball tournament yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Hernandez sank the go-ahead jumper to put the Cardinals on top, 72-71, with 21.9 ticks left before swishing in three of his four free throws for the squad’s third win in four stars.
Hernandez scored 22 points for Mapua while Clint Escamis followed suit with 12 points.
Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara was just relieved his squad responded well to his challenge to bounce back from a setback against Jose Rizal University last 1 October.
“I told them after our loss against JRU that we have to bounce back against Saint Benilde and we have to play with a sense of urgency. I’m glad the players responded,” Alcantara said as the Cardinals are now in third place with a 3-1 win-loss record.
“We had to bounce back fast because we will be facing strong opponents down the line.”
Mapua exploited Saint Benilde’s 18 turnovers which it converted to 16 points. The Cardinals’ bench also outscored their counterparts, 49-34.
Miggy Corteza finished with 15 points for the Blazers, who dropped to 1-3 card.