MANILA, Philippines — Just a day after Mapua punched its first ticket to the Final Four in the ’99 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a different squad secured a playoff berth at Lyceum.
The Pirates officially clinched their spot in the Final Four with a 12-4 record after a hard-fought 83-80 win over San Sebastian on Friday at San Juan Arena.
Patrick Montaño came alive just in time to score 22 points for coach Gilbert Malabanan, and Enoch Valdez continued to impress with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, to go along with three blocks and two steals.
Golden Stag Alex Desoyo matched Montaño’s 22 points, but to no avail as the team continued to fall down the ladder with a 5-11 record.
Mapua wins five matches in a row
The previously mentioned Mapua continued its good streak after defeating modest Arellano 84-75.
The league leaders picked up their fifth straight victory, maintaining a strong 14-3 lead.
Marc Cuenco paced the Cardinals with 17 points, four rebounds and four dimes, while leading MVP candidate Clint Escamis had 15 points, six rebounds and four dimes.
“My role is to fill the gap in the team with shooting and extra passing,” Cuenco said.
Lorenzo Capulong’s double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds was in vain, and the Chiefs fell to a 2-15 card. Meanwhile, Jade Talampas drained four three-pointers on her way to 14 points, but to no avail.