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Hernandez fuels Mapua win streak    


Mapua University is making a serious run for the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament title after an impressive showing midway through the first round.

The Cardinals are now sporting a 4-1 win-loss record to keep their hold of a seat in the top four spots.

All thanks to the consistency and inspired performance of forward Paolo Hernandez.

The homegrown cager’s heroics last week resulted in Mapua’s huge back-to-back wins that tied the squad at the second spot along with Jose Rizal University.

The 6-foot-3 wingman averaged 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in the Cardinal’s consecutive victories, enough to earn the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week honors for the period 3 to 9 October.

Hernandez topped teammate Clint Escamis, Lyceum of the Philippines University’s Mclaude Guadana and John Barba, and JRU’s Agem Miranda for the weekly award presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.

Down by one against College of Saint Benilde last 4 October, Hernandez hit the dagger jumper with 22 seconds remaining in the match before sealing the 75-71 victory with three conversions from the charity stripe.

The Cardinals turned to Hernandez once again last Sunday as he sank a step-back midrange jumper to break a 69-all deadlock against Emilio Aguinaldo College while also making a crucial deflection on the defensive end en route to the 73-69 win.

But Hernandez deflected all the credit and said it was all but a result of the team’s efforts and hard work.

“We just stayed composed and trusted our coaches and teammates. We have a strong trust in each other,” he said.

“I was able to make those shots because of my teammates. That came from Clint, from our big men boxing out, especially Jopet Soriano. That shot was a result of all out efforts.”

Still, Cardinals head coach Randy Alcantara gave all his praise on Hernandez.

“I went to him on that plat because I have faith in him. I know he can make something happen. He can take the shot or make a feed to an open teammate,” the long-time Mapua mentor said.

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