Noah Lugo showed the way for the Mapua University Cardinals as they held off the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals, 79-76, yesterday at the FilOil-Flying V Sports Center in San Juan.
The 5’11” Lugo’s leadership helped propel the Cardinals to their fifth win in 11 games in the 95th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament.
Top scoring with 16 points, Lugo’s split free throw in the last 2.6 seconds allowed the Cardinals to survive a close call with the Generals, who rallied from 11 points down in the last three minutes.
Meanwhile, Jaycee Marcelino scored 22 points as the Lyceum Pirates prevailed over the College of St. Benilde Blazers, 85-83, to post their ninth triumph in 12 matches. This kept the Pirates in the running for a twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four.
Reymar Caduyac’s split charity with 3.8 seconds allowed the Pirates to move out of the Blazers’ range, 84-80.
Lugo’s freebie off Marvin Taywan’s foul allowed the Cardinals to gain the needed distance from the Generals, who leaned on an 8-0 run to move within range of the Mapua.
JP Maguliano, who made 15 points, led the rally with a drive in the last 2:11.
EAC remains at the bottom with their 1-11 slate.
Lugo banged in nine points in the last period, with his two charities with 1:29 left handing the Cardinals a 79-68 spread.
The Cardinals, with Warren Bonifacio adding 13 points and 10 rebounds, remained in contention for a Final Four seat. They are in sixth spot.
“In the first half, EAC scored 43 points because they were ready for us. They were aggressive. Sa second half, kailangan tapatan namin ang energy at aggressiveness nila kundi tatambakan kami. Buti na lang, nakarecover kami dahil sa inside game namin,” said Cardinals coach Randy Alcantara.
In the junior division, the La Salle Greenhills Greenies drew 29 points from RC Calimag as they prevailed over Lyceum of the Philippines University Junior Pirates, 95-87.
Three other Greenies, Jan Manansala, Lennox Valenzuela and JC, had double-digit outputs with 15, 12 and 10 points. The Greenies are now in lone second at 7-4.
“Ginawa namin lahat ng maliliit na bagay na dapat naming gawin. We lost to Baste dahil nabigay kami ng maraming rebounds. Today, we limited Lyceum’s rebounds,” said LSGH coach Karl Santos.
The Greenies got a lift from Calimag’s layup in the last five minutes, as it touched off a 16-4 blast, which broke the game apart, from a one-point, 64-63 lead to a 80-67 spread in the remaining time.
The Junior Pirates, getting 35 points from John Barba, moved up the standings with their 7-5 card.