After five long years, Mapua Institute of Technology returned to the NCAA Final Four stint as the Cardinals imposed a huge blow on Arellano University, 93-75, on Tuesday in the Season 91 Men’s Basketball Division at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay.
The win sent the Cardinals on a big comeback to the semifinals race, as they clinched their last Final Four stint way back in 2010.
Mapua held a dominating stance onset of the first canto, inflicting a premature 12-point romp over Arellano to move ahead and poise for the much-coveted do-or-die victory.
The Chiefs plotted a fightback to open the second quarter and managed to trim the gap down by 5 points, but Coach Atoy Co’s fighting wards rejected Arellano’s retaliation courtesy of Josan Nimes’ 13 points in that period alone to grab the 16-point halftime cushion, 49-33.
But Coach Jerry Codiniera’s Chiefs would not back down so easily and relied on Jiovani Jalalon’s clutch baskets to somewhat avert the bleeding on their side, yet Mapua did not hold down its gallant execution and basically settled the outcome of the game with a 25-point lead in the third quarter.
With the 62-37 advance they have, the Cardinals never looked back and stretched the commanding lead to seal their Final Four spot this Season 91.
Final year player Josan Nimes finished with 21 points, while CJ Isit and Darrell Menina scored 14 points apiece for the Mapua Cardinals, who will next face Jose Rizal University on Friday for the 3rd and 4th positions in the Final Four.
In addition, Justine Serrano and Mark Brana contributed 10 markers each for the Cardinals.
On the other hand, it was a sorry loss for the Season 90 runner-up Arellano University, which capped off its Season campaign despite Jiovani Jalalon’s 37 points aftermath.
Mapua Cardinals (93) — Nimes 21, Isit 14, Menina 14, Oraeme 13, Serrano 10, Brana 10, Aguirre 6, Nieles 5, Que 0.
Arellano Chiefs (75) — Jalalon 37, Salado 9, Cadavis 7, Nicholls 6, Meca 4, Bangga 4, Tano 4, Holts 2, Enriquez 2, Ongolo-Ongolo 0, Gumaru 0, Ortega 0, Zamora 0.