Reigning NCAA titlist Mapua drew another double-double from Clint Escamis and downed National University, 86-80, to clinch the No. 1 seed in the semifinals of the 10thFreego Cupon at the Buddhacare gym in Quezon City.
The cat-quick Escamis did almost everything on the court, firing 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds aside from posting four steals and two assists in 31 minutes of action as the Red Robins finished the elims with a 7-1 card.
Mapua got off to a 17-14 first quarter lead, wavered a bit in the next two frames before finding its second wind in the payoff period where it outscored the former UAAP champion, 25-18.
The game was marked by seven deadlocks and 12 lead changes as both teams played with a sense of urgency for the lone twice-to-beat advantage.
Three other Mapua players posted double figures in scoring with Brian Lacap and Joaquin Garcia chipping in 13 points each and Warren Bonifacio contributing 10 in the tournament also sponsored by Smart, Powerhouse and Home Depot.
Mohammad Sarip and Cyril Gonzales paced the Bullpups with 18 and 13 points, respectively.
For topping the elims, Mapua needs only to beat Jose Rizal University on Monday to advance to the one-game final against either No. 2 National University or No. 3 La Salle Greenhills.
The Bullpups and Greenies finished with similar 6-2 marks but the former took the No. 2 spot due to the winner over the other rule. The Light Bombers posted a 5-3 record.