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Pirates pull rug underneath Mapua, notch first FilOil Preseason Cup win

By Julian Reyes

SAN JUAN, MM--Wilson Baltazar finished with 17 points while guard Jesper Ayaay registered a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards to lead the Lyceum of the Philippines Univesity Pirates past Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals, 91-82, for their first win in the 2016 FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup at FilOil Flying V Centre on Wednesday.

Center Jebb Bulawan added 13 points while Dexter Zamora had 10 off the bench to give the Pirates the confidence-building win they need in the tough Group B of the tournament.

Despite losing an early lead, Lyceum did not let Mapua complete a come-from-behind victory as the former reasserted its game’s mastery in the fourth to outscore the Cardinals, 27-18, and share a top spot with the DLSU Green Archers and UE Red Warriors who defeated their respective rivals during the tournament’s opening on Saturday.

The Pirates did a great job defending the basket as it let Mapua convert only 23 of its 60 attempts inside the arc for a 38 percent shooting-percentage. In return, Lyceum shot a superb 50 percent from the same position.

Although having a disadvantage in grabbing offensive boards, Lyceum still scored more second chance points than Mapua, 9-4, in the entire game.

Lyceum failed to stop the Cardinals’ big man and NCAA’s reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Allwell Oraeme from grabbing numerous missed balls on both ends of the floor but held him to only 10 points on 3 of 10 shooting.

The 6-foot-9 Nigerian center recorded 24 rebounds, 10 from the offensive end.

Exe Biteng and Almel Orquina tallied 16 apiece to top score Mapua, which will take a 10-day rest before returning to the court on May 14 to face the defending NCAA champions Letran Knights.

Up next for the Lyceum is the Adamson Soaring Falcons, who will try to bounce back from its 10-point loss over La Salle last Saturday.

Box Scores:

Lyceum 91-Baltazar 17, Ayaay 15, Bulawan 13, Zamora 10, Gabayni 8, Alanes 8, Soliman 6, Alban 6, Malabanan 4. Magbuhos 3, Marata 1, Caduyac 0

Mapua 82-Biteng 16, Orquina 16, Magboo 11, Oraeme 10, Isit 10, Estrella 6, Victoria 5, Gamboa 4, Menina 2, Aguirre 2, Raflores 0

Quarterscores: 23-17, 46-41, 64-64, 91-82

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