ANDOY Estrella buried a tough three-pointer with five seconds to go as Mapua defeated Letran, 78-75, on Tuesday for its first win in the NCAA Season 93 basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Estrella came up with a heroic performance to help the Cardinals get back from a six-point deficit midway through the fourth to even their record to 1-1.
It was a huge win for the shorthanded Cardinals, who lost two-time Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme and Darell Menina during the summer.
Bong Quinto and JP Calvo, who were embroiled in a transfer controversy days before the opening game of Season 93, looked set to power Letran to victory with baskets that pushed the Knights to a 71-65 lead only for the squad to collapse in the endgame.
Estrella helped spark the comeback and scored with 43.1 seconds to play to make it 75-73.
Rey Nambatac quickly answered four seconds later to tie the match but Estrella took command once again, converting a triple over the outstretched arms of Jeo Ambohot.
Nambatac shot an airball on his three-point attempt in Letran's final possession.
Estrella finished with 18 points, while JB Raflores added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinals, who also got 12 makers from the returning Leo Gabo.
Jerick Balanza tallied 15 points, while Nambatac scored 13 for the Knights. Bong Quinto scored 12 and Calvo added 11.
Mapua 78 - Estrella 18, Raflores 12, Gabo 12, Bunag 10, Victoria 8, Aguirre 6, Pelayo 5, Nieles 4, Orquina 3.
Letran 75 - Balanza 15, Nambatac 13, Quinto 12, Ambohot 11, Calvo 11, Taladua 6, Vacaro 4, Bernabe 3, Balagasay 0, Gedaria 0, Pascual 0, Mandreza 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19; 38-41; 56-61; 78-75.