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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cardinals win, await Final 4 standing

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Mapua ended its elimination round stint with a 75-65 win over Lyceum of the Philippines University as it awaits its fate of securing the remaining outright Final Four berth in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at the La Salle Greenhills Gym.

Paolo Hernandez of Mapua drives to the basket.

The Cardinals, who last made it to the top four in 2016, have a 7-2 slate.

Mapua is hoping for a Letran victory over San Beda in Friday’s rivalry game at the Filoil Flying V Centre to sew up the second automatic Final Four berth.

A win by the Lions, who are at 7-1, will relegate the Cardinals to the play-in stage, where Mapua will take on College of Saint Benilde, which finished the elims as the No. 4 team, for the third Final Four slot.

Paolo Hernandez is determined to bring the Cardinals to a higher level after years of disappointments.

The last time Mapua made it past the eliminations was when league MVP Allwell Oraeme, CJ Isit, and Andoy Estrella were leading the charge.

“Of course, masaya kasi after ilang years, puwede kaming makapasok sa Final Four at sa Finals,” said Hernandez, who tallied 13 points and four rebounds for the Cardinals.

Toby Agustin also scored 13 points Brian Lacap chipped in 12 points, while Arvin Gamboa, the son of former pro Arnold, produced a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinals.

The Pirates, who will miss the Final Four for the first time since 2016, ended their season with a 2-7 record in ninth place.

John Barba paced LPU with 16 points while Omar Larupay contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Dax Castellano, NCAA Management Committee chairman, said the league is looking forward playing at the San Juan arena for the first time since 2019.

“We’re excited that we are welcoming the fans back at the venue this coming Friday,” said Castellano.

As part of COVID-19 protocols, fans have to present vaccination cards and a valid IDs. The venue is available for full capacity.

“Tickets are available at the venue and also in this website and online selling starts 12 noon of Wednesday, April 27,” said Castellano.


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