DEFENSE did it for Mapua in the final minute as it outlasted FEU-Diliman, 88-86, in double overtime in the semifinals of the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup juniors division on Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Red Robins fought back from an 84-80 deficit in the final one minute and 12 seconds as their defense forced the Baby Tamaraws to gobble up their possession and lead to six straight points in their favor, propelling them to the Finals.
Mapua faces the winner of the NU-San Beda semifinals in the championship game on Saturday.
Clint Escamis stepped up big for Mapua in the second overtime as he dropped four of his 20 points in second overtime, including the game-knotting foul shots with 33.3 seconds remaining, on top of his six rebounds and six assists.
Escamis’ missed jumper on the next possession was cleaned up by Paolo Hernandez for the go-ahead putback, before another steal led to an easy lay-up for Karl Mariano with six seconds left on the clock.
Hernandez collected a team-best 23 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and two assists, while Mariano got 13 points, four boards, and four assists.
Their connection helped the Red Robins tie the game at 70 with 12.7 ticks left in regulation, before Escamis slipped on his potential game-winner and Royce Alforque botched a hail-mary from half-court as the game went to overtime.
Jonnel Policarpio also had 12 points and seven rebounds for Mapua, while Briedlyn Smith was just a point short of a double-double with his nine and 17, as the Fil-Aussie big man from Cebu muffed both of his charities in the tailend of the first extra time which could have handed the Red Robins the triumph right then and there.
RJ Abarrientos paced FEU-Diliman with 19 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while Ron Tolentino got a double-double of 17 points and 17 boards in the defeat.
MAPUA 88 — Hernandez 23, Escamis 20, Mariano 13, Policarpio 12, Smith 9, Sarias 7, Arches 2, Dennison 2, Chavez 0, Diaz 0, Lazarte 0, Tagal 0.
FEU-DILIMAN 86 — Abarrientos 19, Tolentino 17, Sajonia 15, Alforque 14, Ona 12, Torres 6, Armendez 2, Anonuevo 1, Barasi 0, Bradley 0, San Pablo 0.
Quarters: 10-18, 26-30, 51-50, 70-70, 78-78, 88-86.