After four games of futility, the Cardinals finally notched their first win by beating the EAC Generals. One could possibly put an asterisk on the game though, as MIT was lucky to be facing a shorter Generals team, as Claude Cubo was serving a one-game suspension. That allowed Mapua to score inside with abandon, forming a 64-51 lead at the end of three quarters. Just to be sure there wasn't going to be any late-game shenanigans though, the Cardinals tacked on a 9-0 run to start the fourth, and held Emilio Aguinaldo to just 12 fourth quarter points, closing with a final score of 80-63. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- At 6-9, the Cardinals surrendered their fourth place spot and dropped a half-game behind into fifth place, as they look up at the 7-9 JRU Heavy Bombers. Both those teams struggled in the first round but seem to have regained their groove. However, only one of those two stepladder teams from last season will get a chance to return to the post-season, making this game a must-win for Mapua to keep in step with their rivals.
- Technically winning all of their remaining games and watching the other five squads ahead of them not win any of their remaining encounters will get EAC into the Final Four, but that's hardly realistic. Thus, the Generals will have to content themselves with playing spoiler in this game.
MIT Player to Watch : After a pedestrian three games where Allan Mangahas scored just a total of 16 points, "The Snake" dropped 19 versus San Beda, including 12 in the third period, as he desperately tried to keep the Cardinals in the thick of things. If he can keep up his strong play versus EAC, he could find himself on a roll to close out the eliminations.
EAC Player to Watch : Joshua Torralba returned after missing three games to a groin injury, but he was far from game shape when they played Letran, scoring just two points in 18 minutes of play, on 1 of 7 shooting with three turnovers to boot. We'll see if he's bounced back since then in this game.
Prediction: MIT Cardinals