PAOLO Hernandez came out firing as he towed Mapua back to the Finals in the NCAA Season 94 following a 75-67 win over San Beda on Monday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Hernandez did his damage in the middle quarters, scoring 19 of his career best 27 points in the second and third period to keep the Red Cubs at bay.
Jonnel Policarpio and Dan Arches then drained the telling blows in the endgame, with Arches bucking a bad shooting night by scoring five straight points in the end game.
With San Beda within four and Hernandez cramping up, Arches drained a three to give the Red Robins some breathing space - 70-63 with 1:24 to go in the game and then hit a floater to seal the deal with 42 seconds left.
"It's all about heart. Mas gusto namin, nagpakita kami kagad nung first dumepensa kami kagad ayaw na namin maulit yung first game, natakbuhan kami ng 12-0 run, dun kami nagfocus, kailangan makadepensa kami," said Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara.
Hernandez hit five of his eight attempts from downtown which he supplemented with 10 boards and two steals.
"Talagang nangako yung bata na after ng loss namin ng first game sabi niya babawi talaga siya sa game na to," said Alcantara of Hernandez.
Policarpio had 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Red Robins while Arches finished with 14 as Clint Escamis continues to play limited minutes with a knee injury.
Art Oliva had 16 for San Beda, while Joshua Lazaro added 10 points and 12 boards.
MAPUA 75 - Hernandez 27, Policarpio 25, Arches 14, Sarias 5,Mariano 4, Diaz 0, Escamis 0, Smith 0, Dennison 0, Quimado 0
SAN BEDA 67 - Oliva 16, Lazaro 10, Pelipel 9, Sanchez 8, Llarena 7,Coyoca 6, Estacio 3, Ynot 2, Alcantara 2, Andrada 2
Quarters: 14-15, 37-32, 54-47, 75-67