Mapua University breezed past Arellano University, 79-65, for its fifth straight win in Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre yesterday.
The Cardinals are now leading the standings with a 7-1 win-loss record as they aim to return to the Final Four this year.
Interestingly, Mapua already tied the number of wins it had in Season 98 when it tallied a 7-11 slate.
Against Arellano, the Cardinals unleashed a 12-0 run capped by a jump shot from Clint Escamis with 1:50 remaining in the second quarter to turn a 26-all deadlock into a 38-26 lead.
Andrei Igliane gave Mapua its biggest lead of the game, 63-38, after making a layup with 2:37 minutes in the third quarter.
The Cardinals imposed their might inside the shaded area as they converted 21 second-chance points from 14 offensive rebounds and sank 34 points inside the paint.
Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara constantly reminded his players to stay hungry and just focus on the games.
“We always told them to not relax. We can’t always look at the standings because anyone can beat us on any given day,” Alcantara said.
“Everybody is involved here. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran or a leader but we saw them lead and pass the ball that’s why the plays ran smoothly.”
Warren Bonifacio had a double-double game of 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Mapua while JC Recto and Kobe Dalisay fired 12 points each.
Lars Sunga led Arellano with 16 points as the Chief sank to a 1-7 slate.