Mapua used a strong third quarter and torched San Beda in the second half en route to a 66-55 win in the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball tournament Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Cardinals were almost unstoppable heading into the payoff period after building a comfortable 54-37 cushion behind the efforts of Arvin Gamboa, Carl Lacap, and Juaqui Garcia.
"Thank you doon sa mga players ko na sumunod at nakuha namin 'yong game plan namin. Of course syempre it's a collective effort," said Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara. "Lahat naman nag-contribute. Tinignan ko nga 'yong score, it was a balanced scoring."
Gamboa led the Cardinals' balanced attack with 12 points while Lacap and Garcia scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
A couple of three-point shots from both Lacap and Gamboa enabled Mapua to reach its biggest margin of 19 points, 65-46, before San Beda retaliated late in the payoff period.
The Red Lions uncorked a 9-0 run to stop the bleeding with less than two minutes remaining, 65-52, but the lead was just too much to overcome for San Beda.
In the rematch of last season's Final Four matchup, the Cardinals had the last laugh as they improved to a 1-0 record while the Lions suffered the opposite fate with a 0-1 slate.
James Kwekuteye was the lone bright spot for San Beda and spearheaded the squad with 15 points while JB Bahio added nine points and eight rebounds.