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Cardinals Repeat Over Stags

By Dugout Philippines

Mapua banked on a second half run to notch only its second win of the season against San Sebastian, 75-73, in the nightcap of the NCAA seniors' games at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

Down by 14 at the halfway point of the third period, the Cardinals unleashed a 25-6 run spanning the two periods to take a 63-58 lead with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter.

The Golden Stags inched closer and came to within two, 63-65, but Ezequiel Biteng fired back-to-back triples to increase the Cardinals' lead, 71-66.

San Sebastian then made a 7-2 run capped by a Jamil Ortuoste layup to tie the game, 73-73. Ortuoste, who was fouled in that sequence, missed the bonus free throw that would have given his team the lead.

On the other end, Andoy Estrella drove hard to the lane for a teardrop that bounced at the rim before going in to give Mapua the lead again, 75-73, with 23.4 seconds to go.

After the timeout, C.J. Perez penetrated to the rim for a potential equalizer, but he lost the ball in midair, and Leo Gabo grabbed the loose ball. Perez fouled Gabo to stop the clock, but that was Perez's final foul.

In the next play, the Golden Stags decided to go for a steal, but it took a lot of time off the clock before finally giving up the foul, leaving 0.2 second.

With San Sebastian not in the penalty, Mapua just needed to inbound the ball to seal the win.

Gabo led the Cardinals with 14 points, two rebounds, and five steals. Estrella also had 14 markers for them.

Perez had a game-high 26 points for the Golden Stags, but he was hampered by foul trouble for most of the second half, leading to the late Cardinals charge.

Mapua's first win also came at the expense of San Sebastian during the first round, 89-81.

Box Scores:

Mapua 75-Gabo 14, Estrella 14, Isit 12, Eriobu 12, Biteng 8, Cantos 7, Saitanan 4, Canaynay 2, Villasenor 2

San Sebastian 73-Perez 26, Dela Cruz 16, Guinto 12, Ortuoste 11, Camasura 3, Yong 3, Calisaan 2, Balucanag 0, Fabian 0, Costelo 0, Aquino 0, Mercado 0

Quarterscores: 18-23, 32-42, 53-57, 75-73
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