Cardinals outsteady Pirates to post first streak

MAPUA starts the second round with win. — NCAA/GMA-SYNERGY

Games Tomorrow(Filoil EcoOil Centre)12 p.m.- San Beda vs AU3 p.m.- Letran vs UPHSD

MAPUA outmuscled Lyceum of the Philippines University in the fourth quarter as it eked out a 62-59 victory yesterday to post its first streak in NCAA Season 98 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, the Cardinals tightened the defensive screws and held the Pirates to just 11 points while scoring 20 in the period in claiming their second straight victory after disappointingly starting the season with eight losses in row.

“Our defense did it for us unlike in the first round when we made defensive lapses in the last two quarters,” said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara.

It was a win that resuscitated life out of a dying Final Four hopes for a team out to replicate its finals appearance a season ago.

And Mapua did with old-fashioned defense.

The Cardinals held the Pirates to just 19 fieldgoals out of 58 attempts while dominating the boards, 50-41.

Skipper Warren Bonifacio anchored Mapua’s defensive fortress with 14 boards, a block shot and a rock-solid interior defense that made life difficult for the opposing big men.

Mr. Bonifacio said the team’s recent vacation helped the team forget about the painful past.

“Our outing and team building helped us reset and forget about our heartbreaking losses in the first round,” said the Pampanga native, who also pounded in 10 points.

Jeric Pido fired 11 points while Adrian Nocum and Juaqui Garcia contributed 10 apiece.

The Pirates slipped to 7-3 but remained at No. 2.

In the other game, Emilio Aguinaldo College slew pace-setting College of St. Benilde, 80-75, to claim its first win after nine straight setbacks.

The Blazers absorbed their second loss against seven wins but stayed at the helm.  — Joey Villar

The Scores:

First Game

Mapua 62– Pido 11, Nocum 10, Bonifacio 10, Garcia 10, Hernandez 7, Mercado 4, Soriano 4, Cuenco 2, Parinas 2, Agustin 2, Salenga 0, Igliane 0, Lacap 0

LPU 59– Guadaña 15, Larupay 8, Umali 7, Bravo 6, Cunanan 6, Barba 4, Navarro 4, Montano 4, Villegas 3, Valdez 2, Penafiel 0, Omandac 0

Quarterscores: 12-18; 30-29; 42-48; 62-59

Second Game

EAC 80– Cosejo 24, Bajon 16, Balowa 10, Liwag 10, Maguliano 6, Cosa 5, Dominguez 5, Ad. Doria 4, Quinal 0, Luciano 0, An. Doria 0, Tolentino 0

CSB 75- Gozum 19, Nayve 13, Pasturan 11, Corteza 8, Oczon 6, Sangco 6, Lim 6, Cullar 2, Carlos 2, Marcos 2, Flores 0, Mara 0, Lepalam 0, Davis 0

Quarterscores: 19-18; 39-40; 57-59; 80-75