MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Mapua University still has a chance at an outright semi-finals berth after a comfortable 75-65 victory against Lyceum of the Philippines University on Wednesday afternoon at the La Salle Greenhills Gym.
Mapua ended its elimination round campaign in NCAA Season 97 with a 7-2 win-loss record. The Cardinals are qualified for the play-in tournament, but can secure one of the two automatic semi-final spots available depending on the result of the game between San Beda University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Friday.
Four players scored in double-digits for the Cardinals, led by Paolo Hernandez and Toby Agustin with 13 points each. Arvin Gamboa had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Sinabi ni Coach Randy [Alcantara] na itaas lang namin ang energy namin," Gamboa said of their mindset coming into the game. "'Yung Lyceum, papasok 'yan dito na wala ng pressure. Kaya pagdating dito, taasan lang namin ang energy namin."
The Pirates, who were watched on Tuesday by former stars CJ Perez and Jayvee Marcelino, were already eliminated from the play-in picture heading into the contest. They concluded their campaign with a 2-7 win-loss record.
Lyceum still stayed within striking distance until the end of the third quarter, before Agustin and Gamboa conspired to push the Cardinals in complete control. A Gamboa triple with under nine minutes left gave them a double-digit lead, 59-49, and the Pirates faded away from there.
Agustin nailed a three-pointer with 4:11 to play that gave them their biggest lead of the game at 17, 71-54.
"At least pagpasok ng playoffs, mataas ang kumpyansa namin," said Gamboa, who made four of his nine shots in 26 minutes of playing time.
The Cardinals limited Lyceum to just 37% shooting, including only 5-of-17 from long distance. They also outplayed the Pirates at their own game, as they had more points off turnovers (21-10) and more fastbreak points (17-8).
Barba led Lyceum with 16 points and five rebounds, while Omar Larupay added 15 points and 14 boards.
MAPUA 75 -- Hernandez 13, Agustin 13, Lacap 12, Gamboa 10, Garcia 9, Nocum 6, Bonifacio 5, Asuncion 3, Pido 2, Mercado 2, Salenga 0.
LYCEUM 65 -- Barba 16, Larupay 15, Remulla 8, Cunanan 7, Navarro 6, Bravo 5, Guadana 4, Garro 3, Abadeza 1, Jabel 0, Valdez 0, Guinto 0.
Quarters: 15-17, 32-34, 53-47, 75-65.