Mapua Cardinals rally to defeat CSB Blazers and arrest 11-game slide
Leo Gabo and four other Cardinals score in double figures. Marlo Cueto

MAPUA snapped an 11 game skid in the NCAA Season 93, exacting revenge on College of St. Benilde, 79-69, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.  

The Cardinals ended the match on a 14-1 tear to overcome a 68-65 lead in the final four minutes to get their first win in the league of the squad in three months.

Laurenz Victoria and Denniel Aguirre starred on that rally, combining for 15 points in the fourth quarter to finish strong and get back at the Blazers who dealt them a 74-69 loss in the first round.

Victoria scored back-to-back baskets to break the deadlock and give the Cardinals a 73-69 lead with 1:25 to go.

The win allowed the Cardinals to improve to 2-12, as the Blazers now officially got the boot with a 3-11 record. 

"What can I say, it's been a long time ... basta we keep on practicing and we still do our system, we run, kasi yun ang sistema kasi we are small, we run," said Mapua coach Atoy Co.

"I made a good decision today, I just stayed to seven or six players playing, and luckily, nag-produce sila," he added.

Victoria paced the Cardinals with 19 points and seven assists leading four other players who notched double digits.

Aguirre added 15 as JP Nieles, Leo Gabo and Cedric Pelayo chipped in 11 apiece.

Clement Leutcheu had 18 points and nine boards for the Blazers, who led by 10 in the second quarter only to falter in the endgame.

The scores:

Mapua 79 - Victoria 19, Aguirre 15, Gabo 11, Nieles 11, Pelayo 11, Buñag 6, Estrella 3, Orquina 2, Raflores 1.

St. Benilde 69 - Leutcheu 18, Naboa 12, San Juan 11, Domingo 6, Dixon 5, Belgica 4, Johnson 4, Pili 3, Castor 2, Sta. Maria 2, Mercado 2.

Quarterscores: 20-17; 37-42; 53-55; 79-69.

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