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Cardinals catch up on training during ‘long break’

Mapua University will make the most of the long break to hone the players’ skills once the Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament resumes on Friday.

Cardinals head coach Randy Alcantara said the extended break will help the team recover faster and tinker their game plan for its remaining matches.

The country’s oldest collegiate league won’t have matches today and tomorrow in observance of the long break due to All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day.

“As we said, we have to rest. The schedule here in the NCAA is tight so their bodies and minds will have to recover,” Alcantara said.

“From there, we go back to work. No vacation for us.”

After missing out on the Final Four in Season 98, Mapua has been on a rampage and is at the top of the NCAA with a 9-2 win-loss record.

Clint Escamis, who helped Alcantara lift the NCAA Season 94 juniors championship in 2018 with the Mapua Red Robins, currently leads the league in scoring with an average of 15.09 points in 11 games.

The Cardinals’ defense also has the least turnovers in the league so far with only 13.45 turnovers per game and currently leads on steals with an average of 11.09 steals.

Still, Alcantara believes they will have to work on rebounding, a stat line in which the team sits at 10th with 41.45 rebounds.

He also preaches composure to his boys despite the constant physicality their opponents push onto them.

“We gave too many second chance points against College of Saint Benilde in our last game so we have to work on that,” Alcantara said.

“For me, I trust them. Physicality is part of the game. We just need to keep on going and avoid getting provoked.”

The Cardinals will face second-seed Lyceum of the Philippines University on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

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