Mapua Cardinals shock league-leading Knights

 Games Tomorrow
(at the Arena in San Juan)
10 a.m. • San Sebastian vs EAC-ICA (jrs)
12 nn • San Beda vs LPU (jrs)
2 p.m. • San Sebastian vs EAC-ICA (srs)
4 p.m. • San Beda vs LPU (srs)

NIGERIAN Allwell Oraeme’s monster game lifted the Mapua Cardinals to an 82-77 victory over the Letran Knights yesterday in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Oraeme came up with 18 points and a new season’s best 30 rebounds to help carry the Cardinals to their ninth win in 14 games and their longest winning streak at five.

Jomari Solano of the Letran Knights (right) battles Allwell Oraeme (10) of the Mapua Cardinals during their NCAA game at The Arena in San Juan, Tuesday, Sept. 15. Mapua leaned on the heroics of Oraeme to upset the league-leading Knights, 82-77. Lino Santos

The Cardinals missed suspended coach Atoy Co and instead listened to instructions of Ed Cordero. They tied the count, 33-all off Josan Nimes’ basket, and began moving away, 40-36, in the last 1:46 behind Justin Serrano.

The 6’6” Oraeme hit 10 points in the third period. The Cards began dominating the boards and pulled away by 13, 62-49, at the end of the third.

The Knights were led by Mark Cruz with 17 markers.

“Going into the second round, coach Atoy talked to the boys and said that if we work hard, and played as a team, there is something bigger for us. We are improving every game,” said Cordero.

Despite the loss the Knights (11 wins, 3 losses) stayed on top of the standings. Trailing them are the San Beda Red Lions (10-3), the Arellano Chiefs (10-4), the Perpetual Help Altas (9-4) and Mapua (9-5).

Meanwhile, the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers are walking on a tightrope. And they’re counting themselves as contenders for the Final Four semifinals.

Tey Teodoro made sure of that when he scored crucial baskets at endgame, sending the Heavy Bombers to a 77-69, closely-fought triumph over the College of St. Benilde Blazers.

Coach Vergel Meneses said the Heavy Bombers should not be counted out of contention. Not yet after they notched their second consecutive win.

JRU is at sixth spot with their 8-6 win-loss record.

“Buhay pa. May pag-asa pa. Medyo lumilinaw na. Pero sinabi ko sa kanila that we need to win four more games. I know its very hard for us, but JRU is always in this situation,” said Meneses.

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