Isit does it as Mapua rallies to win against San Sebastian in tense NCAA finish
CJ Isit and the Cardinals use a 9-0 run in the home stretch to clinch the win. Dante Peralta

CJ Isit nailed two pressure-packed free throws with 21.6 seconds to play to lift Mapua to an 88-86 win over San Sebastian on Thursday in the NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball at The Arena in San Juan.

Isit, Allwell Oraeme and Josan Nimes combined in a 9-0 finish for the Cardinals, who won their first game of the season after dropping the opener against San Beda.

Isit earned a trip to the line after receiving a long pass by Nimes and getting fouled by Jamil Ortouste, with the two charities giving the Cardinals an 87-86 lead.

In the next San Sebastian possession, Ryan Costelo, Bradwyn Guinto, and Michael Calisaan missed their point blank attempts.

After Darrell Menina split his two charities with 6.2 seconds left, Mapua forced Ortouste to a turnover to clinch the victory.

Nimes had a team-high 20 points while Mark Braña added 18 for the Cardinals, who also got 14 points from Isit.

“It feels really good because everybody knows the first win is always the hardest to get,” said Nimes.

The win came early for Mapua this time. The Cardinals lost their first six games last season before finally getting a victory, ironically, against San Sebastian.

“That’s a lot of load off our shoulders. We can play more freely now because we got our first win.”

Oraeme contributed 15 points, 22 rebounds, and five blocks for Mapua. He was instrumental in the Cardinals’ last stand with San Sebastian failing to make a field goal in the last three minutes of the game.

“It was just about getting stops,” said Nimes.

It was a sorry loss for the Stags, who were up by 11 points in the third period only to lose in the end. San Sebastian was still ahead, 86-79, with 2:23 left in the game.

Ortouste led San Sebastian with 21 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

The scores:

Mapua (88) — Nimes 20, Brana 18, Oraeme 15, Isit 14, Que 7, Aguirre 7, Menina 4, Stevens 2, Villasenor 1, Biteng 0, Serrano 0, Dela Rosa 0, Raflores 0.

San Sebastian (86) — Ortouste 21, Calisaan 19, Costelo 16, Guinto 13, Fabian 13, Santos 4, Pretta 0, Bulanadi 0, Vera 0, David 0, Capobres 0, Mercado 0.

Quarterscores: 25-29; 41-50; 67-65; 88-86.

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