The Cardinals led at the half, 34-30, but in a blink of an eye, Mapua found themselves on the receiving end of a 12-0 run led by Ronald Pascual, which they never relinquished going forward. That doesn't mean MIT didn't try though, as baskets by the rookies Josan Nimes and Yousef Taha got them to within four, 62-58, with three and a half left on the clock. A triple by Taha cut the lead down further, as did a Mike Parala put-back, but that was as far as they could go, as the Stags sealed the 71-66 win at the linew with charities by Ian Sangalang and Pascual. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- At 6-7, the Mapua Cardinals currently are in fourth place, but it's a shaky position, what with several teams nipping at their heels. A big win over San Sebastian would solidify their standing, as well as create an outside shot for either the Stags or the Lions to lose their twice-to-beat advantage.
- The San Sebastian Stags narrowly avoided getting tagged with their first loss, as Lady Luck smiled upon them and caused Scottie Thompson's shot to bounce out of the rim. At 14-0, the Stags play all the top teams now from this point on and so their ability to perform under pressure will definitely be tested.
MIT Player to Watch : Mapua needs Josan Nimes to play well, as they flop when he flops. The rookie powered MIT to a four-game win streak thanks to some hot shooting and a 20-point binge in that period, but when the Letran Knights came to town, Nimes was held to 16 points on 22 percent shooting, and his team came up empty down the stretch. The Cardinals will need his scoring once again, that is, if Nimes can withstand the defensive attention of either Abueva or Pascual.
SSCR Player to Watch : Ian Sangalang was held in check by the Mapua big men until the fourth quarter of these two teams' first encounter, when he scored half his output up to that point, 10 out of 20 points. Sangalang was similarly shut down in the Stags' last game, scoring just seven points, but this time surprisingly enough, by the smaller Perpetual Help "big men." He'll be looking to bounce back in this encounter, as he enters a match-up with another formidable rookie, Yousef Taha, who can match his size.
Prediction: SSCR Stags