MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Mapua Cardinals nabbed solo 3rd in NCAA basketball standings with a tough win over St. Benilde Blazers on Friday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Cardinals needed an overtime to put away the gritty Blazers, 65-63, in a tightly contested match down the stretch.
Allan Mangahas paced Mapua with an all-around game, churning out 25 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Cardinals were still ahead in the last 2 minutes of the 4th period, 59-54, when Carlo Lastimosa forced a hard drive to bring the Blazers within 3 points, 59-54.
He then made a killer followup by burying a dagger from beyond the arc to tie the game, 59-all.
Mapua nearly converted a superb play in the final seconds of the 4th quarter but the shot failed to beat the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
Jan Tan momentarily placed the Blazers ahead with a perimeter, 61-60, but Mangahas triggered a quick 3 from the corner seizing the lead back for the Cardinals, 63-61.
Mapua was already enjoying a 3-point cushion, 64-61, on Mark Sarangay’s trip to the foul line when Mark de Guzman drove to the middle of the paint to put St. Belinde just a point behind, 64-61, with 11.5 seconds remaining.
The Blazers tried to buy some time by fouling Mark Acosta who split his charities for the Cardinals, 65-61, 8.5 seconds left.
St. Benilde then attempted a final heave but De Guzman’s triple missed its mark at the end of the regulation.
It was the Blazers 5th straight loss in 6 games.
Mapua, on the other hand, enjoys solo 3rd with a 5-2 win-loss mark behind joint leaders San Sebastian and San Beda, which tote 6-0 cards.
In the second game, the Emilio Aguinado College (EAC) Generals improved its record to 2-6 by beating the Perpetual Altas, 78-66.
Emilian vargas scored 21 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists for the Generals.
EAC's Claude Cubo, for his part, registered a double-double with 19 points and 19 rebounds.
The Altas, which have yet to win a game this NCAA season, fell to their 7 straight loss.