Warren Bonifacio and Marc Cuenco provided the spark for Mapua, hacking out a 77-67 win and dealt Emilio Aguinaldo College a dose of reality in the second round of the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Filoil EcoOil Cetnre.

Warren Bonifacio of the Mapua Cardinals (NCAA/GMA)

The Cardinals came alive in the second half and overcame a huge first half hurdle, trailing by as many as 13 points with a 43-30 deficit.

Mapua, behind the balanced attack of Bonifacio, Cuenco, and Adrian Nocum, used a pivotal third quarter to buck its slow start and unloaded a 27-10 run to turn the tides in their favor heading into the payoff period.

Bonifacio spearheaded the Cardinals, who improved to a 3-9 record, with 18 points on top of five rebounds and three assists, Cuenco hammered down 16 points and eight rebounds, and Nocum flirted with a double-double performance of 11 points and nine rebounds.

Mapua clawed its way back from 16 points down from the first half and finally took hold of the lead at 48-47 capped by Paolo Hernandez’s free throw.

With momentum on their side, the Cardinals zoomed away in the third period and even maintained their lead bridging the fourth quarter, 57-53.

A commanding 16-4 spurt enabled Mapua to assert its dominance and get a firm grip of the lead, 73-57, with less than five minute of play in the payoff period.

The Cardinals also tightened their defenses come the second half as they limited the Generals, who fell to a 1-11 hole, to just 24 points after their strong 43-point outing in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Nat Cosejo once again paced Mapua with 18 points on a 7-of-11 shooting along with three rebounds and three assists while Adrian Balowa had 11 points and five rebounds.

Big man Allen Liwag also chipped in nine points and nine rebounds for the Generals.

The Scores:

MAPUA 77 – Bonifacio 18, Cuenco 16, Nocum 11, Agustin 9, Hernandez 8, Pido 6, Soriano 4, Mercado 3, Salenga 2, Garcia 0, Lacap 0, Igliane 0.

EAC 67 — Cosejo 18, Balowa 11, Liwag 9, Maguliano 7, Cosa 7, Luciano 5, Tolentino 4, Bajon 4, Umpad 2, Ad. Doria 0, An. Doria 0, Angeles 0.

Quarters: 8-23, 30-43, 57-53, 77-67.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/10/22/warren-bonifacio-marc-cuenco-provide-spark-as-mapua-outlasts-eac/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=warren-bonifacio-marc-cuenco-provide-spark-as-mapua-outlasts-eac)