Mapua Red Robins rout San Beda, end Red Cubs' seven-year reign in NCAA juniors
Mapua Red Robins celebrate after winning the team's first NCAA juniors title in 16 years while ending San Beda Red Cubs' seven-year dynasty. Freddie Dionisio

MAPUA ended San Beda’s seven-year title reign in the NCAA juniors basketball tournament after beating an 84-67 victory in sudden-death on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Red Robins dominated the Red Cubs, leading by as many as 24 points in the do-or-die Game Three to annex their first title since 2000 - and the first under Mapua’s new high school campus Malayan High School of Science.

Brian Lacap had 16 points and eight rebounds while Clint Escamis added 14 markers and six rebounds for the Red Robins. Bryan Samudio also added 13 and went on to win the Finals MVP award.

The dynasty ended in Season 92 for the Red Cubs, who ruled the juniors basketball scene since 2009, including a 2014 victory over the Red Robins.

Tears flowed for San Beda players following the end to its campaign that only saw the Red Cubs losing one game in the elimination round.

The Red Robins opened Game Three with a 24-13 lead, and never relinquished the driver’s seat throughout the game with the help of six players from the team who scored in double figures.

Juaqui Garcia had 12 points, while Jasper Salenga added 11 for Mapua. Warren Bonifacio poured 10 markers and 15 rebounds for the Red Robins, who without injuries to key players Michael Enriquez and Sherwin Concepcion.

Mapua coach Randy Alcantara was lost for words after finally winning a title since the basketball program was formed in 2008.

“Hindi ko pa rin ma-describe. Bigay ni Lord. Buong taon namin pinaghirapan ‘to. Dami naming injuries, kulang ang line-up. Pero nandito ‘yung mga bata para mai-panalo,” said Alcantara.

The Red Robins won their first crown since a squad coached by Horacio Lim and led by Jeff Martin and Jay-R Estrada gave the school the title 16 years ago.

Carlo Obenza and Adi Velasquez had 14 points each for the Red Cubs, who had to play late in the game without Evan Nelle and Germy Mahinay after fouling out.


The scores:

Mapua (84) — Lacap 16, Escamis 14, Samudio 13, Garcia 12, Salenga 11, Bonifacio 10, Junsay 5, Gozum 3, Ramos 0.

San Beda (67) — Obenza 14, Velasquez 13, Mahinay 11, Abu Hijle 10, Alfaro 4, Nayve 4, Tagala 3, Nelle 3, Dela Rosa 2, Lagumen 2, Etrata 0.

Quarters: 24-13, 38-24, 52-40, 84-67. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports