MANILA -- Mapua University tightened its grip on the summit of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament.
The current top-seeded team, who has already secured its postseason bonus, outclassed Arellano University, 84-75, on Friday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Marc Cuenco had 17 points, four rebounds, four dishes, and two steals in the match and earned Player of the Game honors, while rookie guard and MVP frontrunner Clint Escamis also added 15 points and six rebounds.
The Cardinals pulled away in the first half, 51-40, but the Chiefs made sure that would not go away with an easy one as Jade Talampas had a scorching hot fourth quarter, making it a close affair on several treys, 79-73.
However, Paolo Hernandez's and Escamis' charities helped close the win for Mapua in the dying moments of the showdown.
The Cardinals moved to 14-3, extending their winning streak to five, while already-eliminated Arellano dropped further to 2-14.
Mapua (84) - Cuenco 17, Escamis 15, Hernandez 13, Recto 10, Soriano 9, Rosillo 7, Fornis 6, Dalisay 5, Bonifacio 2
AU (75) - Capulong 22, Talampas 14, Camay 8, Mallari 7, Geronimo 6, Sunga 6, Villarente 4, Ongotan 4, Rosalin 2, Dayrit 2, Tan 0, Yanes 0, Dela Cruz 0, Abastillas 0
Quarterscores: 25-20; 51-40; 62-56; 84-75