Brana bails Cardinals out with his freebies

Games tomorrow
(San Juan Arena)
10 a.m. • St. Benilde vs Letran (jrs)
12 nn. • Perpetual Help vs San Beda (jrs)
2 p.m. • St. Benilde vs Letran (srs)
4 p.m. • Perpetual vs San Beda (srs)

MARK Brana scored two pressure-packed free throws in the dying seconds to bail out Mapua, which survived Jose Rizal University, 68-67, in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the San Juan Arena yesterday.

Brana was fouled by John Pontejos as he was going up to tip in a missed three-point try by CJ Isit. The 5’4” Brana completed his free throws as the Cardinals escaped with their seventh win against five defeats, good for fifth place.

The win kept the Cardinals within sight of a possible Final Four berth.

Mapua also stretched its streak to three, its longest this year.

“He was at the right place, at the right time. He bailed us out,” said Mapua coach Atoy Co of Brana, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds more than a week after a 10-point, 10-board effort in a 70-65 win over Perpetual Help.

The Cardinals also avenged their 87-90 loss to the Bombers last Aug. 11, when Mapua led by 18 points before self-destructing in the end.

Co said they played minus their top three playmakers back then--Isit, Josan Nimes and Andrettie Stevens.

Isit and Nimes have since returned to the Mapua roster.

“People forget that we played minus our three ball carriers,” said Co.

Isit missed four games after dislocating an elbow in a 76-64 victory over St. Benilde a little over a month ago.

“His timing is still off, but he’s getting there,” said Co of Isit.

In juniors’ action, Mapua slammed Jose Rizal, 83-62, to improve to 11-1, while Arellano trounced Lyceum of the Philippines University,  100-77, to remain in the magic four with a 9-4 mark.


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