MANILA, Philippines—Emerging as one of the title favorites in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament, Mapua has found itself with a big target on its back.
The Cardinals are currently the number one team in the league with a 12-3 record and coach Randy Alcantara knows the games will only get tougher as the Final Four race intensifies.
“Honestly, when we tied with Lyceum in the first round, we’re already a target. Maybe that’s why we’re having a hard time here in the second round. All the games are hard,” said Alcantara after their 71-69 win over San Beda on Sunday.
“I knew we were already a target since then.”
The Cardinals showed exactly why they’re the league leaders against the Red Lions.
Mapua successfully sank 12 triples while also limiting its turnovers to eight.
Clint Escamis led the Cardinals anew with 21 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals.
Despite its top status, Mapua remains guarded against complacency.
“To be honest, we’re not thinking much about it [Final Four] because if you can see our remaining assignments, they’re all heavy so we’ll take it one game at a time.”
“We also don’t have control over the results of the other games so we’re not content with where we are not in the standings.”
Mapua battles Final Four hopeful Perpetual Help, which seems to be peaking at the right time having won its last four games.