Mapua University is just a win away from lifting the elusive National Collegiate Athletic Association seniors’ basketball title.
Warren Bonifacio and Clint Escamis vow to quench the Cardinals’ thirst for a championship which they last tasted 32 years ago.
With Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player frontrunner Escamis at the helm, Mapua overcame a late rally by San Beda University to take the best-of-three Season 99 finals series opener, 68-63, last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Cardinals can put an end to their long wait to be called champions once again on Sunday at the same venue.
“Waiting 32 years for a title is enough motivation for Mapua, especially for my teammates and me,” Bonifacio said.
Bonifacio, who along with Escamis and head coach Randy Alcantara won the juniors crown in 2016, vows to double his effort in the pivotal Game 2.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win. We still have one more game left so whatever we did in Game 1, we have to double or triple that to beat San Beda in Game 2,” he said.
The last time Mapua won it all was in 1991.
Bannered by Benny Cheng, Chito Victolero and Alcantara, the Cardinals last won the title in 1991 for back-to-back championships at the expense of the Red Lions.
Escamis, on the other hand, remains focused on the bigger picture, cancelling out the outside noise of him winning individual awards.
“We’re aiming for the championship. Those accolades, if ever, are just bonuses. Everything is because of coach Randy’s system,” Escamis.
The transferee from University of the East dropped 18 points and had six rebounds in Game 1.
Mapua is also out to complete an unfinished business after getting swept by Letran College in the Season 97 finals.