The Cardinals were on the verge of an upset, thrashing a 61-47 San Beda lead early in the fourth down to just four, 70-66, thanks to clutch play by Allan Mangahas and Mark Sarangay, 1:49 left. The Red Lions made a sloppy error on their next possession, forgetting the shot clock and being forced to hand the ball back to Mapua after 24 seconds. Mapua came up empty as well, but Kenneth Ighalo was there for the repossession, and this time, Mangahas delivered, getting to within a deuce, 70-68, with 47.2 seconds left. Off a timeout, head coach Frankie Lim's designed play suddenly went out the window, when gunner Garvo Lanete slipped while using a screen to get free. Luckily for them, the screener, Dave Marcelo, pounced on the ball and laid it up, creating enough to separation to escape, 74-68. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- The 6-8 Mapua Cardinals are just a half-game ahead of the Lyceum Pirates and the JRU Heavy Bombers, as well as a win ahead of the CSB Blazers. Everyone's still gunning for that fourth seed, and the Cardinals need the wins to create separation between them and the trailers, or risk missing out on the Final Four.
- The defending champions did not expect to tally another loss after their first round defeat to San Sebastian, but lose they did to a determined and more active JRU team, putting them at 10-2. Due to some huge gaps in the scheduling, they've been idle as Letran has accumulated more wins than them, and so they'll seek to make up some lost ground in the "W" column with a victory here.
MIT Player to Watch : Josan Nimes forged a new career-high with 31 points in their last game against the Stags, but the MIT coaching staff completely forgot about him after a sizzling third period that saw him put up 21, playing him just four minutes and giving him one shot, a triple which he made. Combine that with the fact that he threw the ball away on the last possession instead of taking a possible overtime-forcing attempt, and this guy might be looking for some redemption.
SBC Player to Watch : What's the common factor in the two losses of San Beda? Zero points from Garvo Lanete in the final period. In the loss to San Sebastian, Lanete simply did not get enough attempts, missing all two of his tries in seven minutes. Versus JRU though, Lanete could not hit anything, flubbing six in as many minutes. He had nine in eight minutes versus Mapua in the first round, but could have been the goat had his turnover not been saved by Dave Marcelo.
Prediction: San Beda Red Lions