By Mark Mañez
Games on Friday:
12:00 nn - EAC Generals vs LPU Pirates
2:00 pm - CSB Blazers vs SSC - R Golden Stags
4:00 pm - UPHSD Altas vs CSJL Knights
MANDALUYONG -- Mapua University Cardinals unleashed a sickening 9-2 endgame haymaker blow as they survived a hostile Jose Rizal University side and carve out a 72-60 wringer to kick off their campaign on a high note at the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament, Thursday evening.
Laurenz Victoria and rookie Warren Bonifacio tag teamed in saving their first game for last. They combined for 21 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists for their first victory.
"We were happy, and we were able to do the plays as planned, although nabigla kami sa half court [ng JRU]," said coach Atoy Co during the post-game conference.
Both teams had sub-par shooting nights, although the Cardinals made better shot selection, hitting 27/63 (42.86%) as against JRU's 26/77 (33.77%).
"Tight defense, they kept on penetrating as they [JRU] called the zone," added Co.
The Heavy Bombers' strong offense and vacuum-like defense helped them claw back into the game after trailing by as much as 13 points at one stretch.
RJ David and Jed Mendoza led the Heavy Bombers with 12 and 11 markers respectively, albeit on a losing cause.
But it was Coach Atoy Co's Cardinals who had the final say in the payoff period, paving their way to victory.
Heavy Bomber Justin Padua was sent off the court after incurring technical fouls due to game delays.
At the juniors' side, meanwhile, JRU's Light Bombers survived a late Malayan Red Robins upheaval before ironing out an 80-70 reliever.
Marvin Dionisio muscled his way for the Light Bombers, hacking out a 19-marker, 11-carom double-double. He also led three others in double figures, much to the delight of their faithful crowd.
At one point, the Red Robins threatened to silence JRU's hostile crowd, even trimming the gap to 2 before fizzling out.
Red Robins Roseler Sarias and Karl Mariano watched their combined 29-point effort go down the drain with the setback.
Box Scores (Juniors):
JRU Light Bombers (80) - Dionisio 19, Buno 14, Amores 13, Vasquez 12, Baluyot 8, Mendoza 6, Portales 4, Icban 4, Delos Santos 0, Macatangay 0, Fortuna 0, Garcia 0.
Malayan Red Robins (70) - Sarias 16, Mariano 13, Escamis 9, Policarpio 8, Quimado 8, HErnandez 7, Smith 6, Arches 3, Dennison 0, Chavez 0, Fransman 0, Diaz 0.
Quarter Scores: 18-12, 43-33, 63-60, 80-70.
Box Scores (Seniors):
Mapua Cardinals (72) - Victoria 11, Bonifacio 10, Jabel 9, Pelayo 8, Serrano 8, Biteng 8, Lugo 6, Gamboa 4, Aguirre 2, Salenga 0, Garcia 0.
JRU Heavy Bombers (60) - David 12, Mendoza 11, Bordon 9, Esguerra 6, Silvarez 6, Dela Virgen 5, Santos 4, Padua 4, Miranda 3, Estrella 0, Mallari 0, Aguilar 0.
Quarter Scores: 25-14, 34-31, 52-47, 72-60.
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