Rookies carry Cardinals past Heavy Bombers
Neophytes Warren Bonifacio and Eric Jabel came through on their very first college game as Mapua bested Jose Rizal, 72-60, to grab an early share of first place in the 94th NCAA basketball tournament at the JRU Gym in Mandaluyong City.
Both coming from Mapua’s strong high school program, Bonifacio debuted with 10 points and nine rebounds while Jabel fired nine points including seven in the fourth quarter to help the Cardinals grab a piece of the lead with opening day winners San Beda and Lyceum of the Philippines University.
“They’re good but they have a lot more to show,” said Mapua coach Atoy Co referring to the Bonifacio-Jabel duo.
The new-look Bombers were led by RJ David’s 12 points and Jed Mendoza’s 11 in the defeat.
Laurenz Victoria paced the Cardinals with 11 points before he cramped out in the dying seconds.
Mapua, which kept most of its starts from last season, threatened to break loose in the first quarter when it took a 25-14 lead.
But the Bombers, who lost all but one of their starters a year back, showed some fight and closed the gap, 34-31, behind the heroics of Aaron Bordon and Leo Esguerra, who did most of the scoring in the first half by combining for 15 points.