Mapua clinches NCAA Final Four spot with rout of streaking Perpetual

Published November 15, 2023 3:18pm

Updated November 15, 2023 3:19pm

Mapua University didn’t need a last-gasp comeback this time around, breezing past University of Perpetual Help System DALTA using a huge second half, 69-53, to clinch a Final Four spot in NCAA Season 99 on Wednesday.

The Cardinals, who were coming off a gritty escape against San Beda behind a game-winning triple from Paolo Hernandez, improved to 13-3 to make their semis return after missing out last season.

Perpetual, meanwhile, saw its four-game winning streak gets snapped to drop to an even 8-8 win-loss card.

Mapua turned a slim 29-21 halftime lead to a huge 50-28 cushion in the third frame all thanks to triples from Clint Escamis and Marc Cuenco as they limited the ALTAs to just 15 in that frame to establish a 56-36 lead before the payoff period.

Jun Roque rallied Perpetual in the third, scoring 11 of his 13 points but the sophomore guard did not get enough help as they struggled to overcome the double-digit deficit.

Escamis finished with 17 points to lead Mapua.

With their return to the semis, the Cardinals have the chance to complete some unfinished business after falling to three-time defending champion Letran during the Season 97 finals.

The Cardinals also have the opportunity to bounce back after a gloomy campaign in Season 98, finishing eighth in the standings with a tough 7-11 record.

—JMB, GMA Integrated News

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