Mapua kicks off NCAA 98 season with a huge win over San Beda

Mapua asserted their mastery over San Beda in the NCAA Season 98 opening. (NCAA/GMA Photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Mapua Cardinals opened its National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 98 campaign with a convincing win over the San Beda Red Lions, 66-55.

The NCAA Season 97 second-placers banked on a momentum-clinching 17-4 offensive barrage in the third quarter to extend their four-point lead to a commanding 50-33 gap after a three-pointer from Juaqui Garcia.

It was a tightly-contested first half as the veteran Red Lions squad fought fire with fire and were all guns blazing against the Cardinals.

Despite Mapua’s hot-shooting, San Beda kept themselves within striking distance and always had offensive answers courtesy of their efficient perimeter shooting.

San Beda’s main gunner James Kwekuteye led the charge for the men in red but lost control midway in the third quarter after Mapua’s insane scoring run.

“I thank my players for following the game plan. Of course, it’s a collective effort, and everyone contributed. We really had to stop San Beda’s scorers and they knew it, and worked hard for it,” said Mapua’s head coach Randy Alcantara.

Arvin Gamboa became Mapua’s focal point on offense and finished the ball game with 12 points on 4/8 shooting from the field.

Bryan Lacap, one of the key contributors during Mapua’s 17-4 run during the third quarter, fired 11 points while Garcia chipped in 10 points.

In the other scheduled game of the NCAA opening, the Arellano Chiefs nipped the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals, 63-58.

The duo of Darrel Menina and Axel Doromal took charge for Arellano and scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, while Allen Liwag had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Generals.