MANILA, Philippines – The landscape of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament underwent a change on Saturday as Mapua climbed to the top of the ladder after defeating former league leaders Lyceum, 87-83, at the San Juan Arena.
The Cardinals, who ran their win streak to four, took first place with a 6-1 record, but coach Randy Alcantara said it wasn’t easy to topple the Pirates, who slipped to 6-2.
“I told them, ‘I’ve already seen this,’” Alcantara said in Filipino, regarding Lyceum’s comeback win over Arellano last week.
“I saw Lyceum versus Arellano, that’s almost exactly what they did today. Arellano led, but they came back in overtime and won. I told them that if we got complacent, all our efforts in the first half would be wasted, so it’s good that they kept calm and that we still made the right plays.
Clint Escamis flirted with a triple-double with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the win. Warren Bonifacio scored 20, while Paolo Hernandez and Mark Cuenco had 15 and 13 respectively.
JM Bravo led the Pirates with 19 markers, but the Pirates dropped their second straight game. Mclaude Guadaña and Enoch Valdez helped matters with 13 and 11 points respectively, but to no avail.
Jacob Cortez, meanwhile, had a great game as San Beda defeated Jose Rizal University 74-70.
Without coach Yuri Escueta on the sidelines after serving a one-game suspension, Cortez ensured the Red Lions wouldn’t falter with a 24-point outburst.
Peter Alfaro and Jomel Puno also help the Red Lions to 4-2. Alfaro scored 12 points, while Puno recorded nine points and 12 rebounds.
Shawn Argente had 14 points for the Heavy Bombers (4-3), who also drew 13 points from Marwin Dionisio.