MU Cardinals 72 – JRU Heavy Bombers 60
Last year’s bottom-ranked team opened the new season with a bang. The Mapua Cardinals relied on a balanced scoring effort to take down the JRU Heavy Bombers in their home court to win their very first game of the season. Six players scored at least eight points with Laurenz Victoria and rookie Warren Bonifacio leading the way.
The Cardinals matched the Heavy Bombers fast-paced, pressing style by patiently breaking the press and pushing the pace of their offense when needed. Victoria, Bonifacio and Exie Biteng all scored on the break to push the Cardinals lead to 11 points at the end of the first quarter. Not wanting to be embarassed at home, the Heavy Bombers fought to get back in the game. Karl Bordon scored five straight points to pull JRU to within three points. They stayed within striking distance of the Cardinals the rest of the way.
The Cardinals offense just found it’s groove in the final period. Bonificio and Bunag scored inside while Cedric Pelayo added an outside bucket to give Mapua another double-digit lead midway through the quarter. The Heavy Bombers tried to retake the lead one last time but could only get as close to five points on a Jed Mendoza three-pointer. Mapua rebuilt their double digit lead in the closing minutes as Eric Jabel nailed the dagger floater to put the game out of reach.
File Photo from NCAA Season 93