The Mapua Cardinals choked away a 60-48 fourth quarter advantage, as stingy JRU defense late held MIT to just nine points, while scoring 22 of their own. Raycon Kabigting caught fire late, scoring seven of his 14 in the final period, while on the other end, Mapua helped dig their own grave, when an errant elbow by Yousef Taha drew blood on Allan Mangahas, forcing the Cardinals to sit their veteran point guard. Without his leadership, Mapua could not execute on the final play, after a split at the line by Alex Almario. Though they had 17.8 seconds left to make a play, smart use of fouls to give by JRU had Josan Nimes inbounding with 1.8 seconds left. The Heavy Bomber defense immediately swarmed the ball-handler off the pass, and as a result, JRU squeaked by with a 70-69 win. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- With two games remaining on their slate, the 7-9 JRU Heavy Bombers could knock the 7-10 Mapua Cardinals out of contention with a win here. On the other hand, an MIT victory means the Cardinals will at the very least, figure into a playoff, should it comes down to that.
JRU Player to Watch : After scoring in double-digits just twice in their first 11 games, team captain Raycon Kabigting has found his groove, with a five game streak of scoring 10 or more points. They'll need him to help spread the floor for their big men, along with Byron Villarias and Nate Matute.
MIT Player to Watch : Is Yousef Taha a liability or an asset? While is scoring is up, thanks to a lengthy miss-less streak at the free throw line (13/13 in his last two games), his field goal percentage and rebounding goes up and down seemingly without rhyme or reason. The bigger problem though are his turnovers. He hasn't committed less than three since July 27 and is averaging a team-worst 4.75 turnovers in the second round.
Prediction: JRU Heavy Bombers