Red Robins advance to finals as Greenies force semis decider vs Red Cubs in NCAA juniors
Will Gozum celebrates after hitting the go-ahead basket for Mapua. Dante Peralta

MAPUA captured the first finals seat but will have to wait for its opponent, as La Salle Greenhills forced a rubber match in the Final Four of the NCAA Season 93 juniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Red Robins kept their title defense bid alive with a hard-fought 82-80 win over Letran as the second-seed squad moved into the best-of-three championship series.

The fourth-seed Greenies, meanwhile, arranged a rubber match for a finals berth when they got past San Beda, 83-72.

LSGH was coming off a playoff win over San Sebastian on Tuesday for the fourth spot in the Final Four.

Will Gozum contributed 24 points and nine rebounds, while Warren Bonifacio tallied 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Red Robins to end the Squires’ run this season.

Clint Escamis added 13 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for the Red Robins.

Kiefer Cordero finished with 16 points for the Squires, who failed to convert the tying basket in the final possession of the match.

Joel Cagulangan finished with 27 points, six rebounds, and five assists for the Greenies, who will play the Red Cubs again on November 7 for the right to face the Red Robins for the title.

Joshua Marcos added 17 points, while Inand Fornilos and Jacob Lao chipped in 11 points each for LSGH, which led by as many as 14 markers in the match-up.

Germy Mahinay had 13 points, while Evan Nelle had 11 points and 10 assists in a losing effort for the top-seed Red Cubs.

The scores:

First game

LSGH 83 – Cagulangan 27, Marcos 17, Fornilos 11, Lao 11, David 7, Sangco 5, Mosqueda 3, Perez 2, Morales 0, Cruz 0, Lepalam 0, Pedrosa 0.

SBC 72 – Mahinay 13, Nelle 11, Velasquez 9, Sese 8, Obenza 7, Tagala 6, Abu Hijle 6, Alfaro 5, Etrata 4, Dela Rosa 3, Garcia 0, Lagumen 0, Oliva 0.

Quarters: 28-27, 48-44, 67-55, 83-72.

Second game

Mapua 82 – Gozum 24, Bonifacio 16, Escamis 13, Lacap 12, Enriquez 7, Garcia 4, Jabel 4, Socias 2, Arches 0.

Letran 80 – Cordero 16, Monje 15, Guarino 12, Aniban 10, Tolentino 9, Peralta 6, Labrador 6, Tamayo 4, Fuentes 2, Reyson 0, Ganapathy 0, Culanay 0, Tabajen 0, Montes 0.

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Quarters: 24-20, 44-39, 57-58, 82-80.

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