DARREL Menina came through in the clutch as Mapua downed Letran, 79-75, on Tuesday in the NCAA Season 92 basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Menina shots in the dying moments helped the Cardinals end the first round with a 6-3 win-loss slate.
Menina had 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a triple over a Letran defender to give the Cardinals a 75-71 lead with 1:32 left.
Allwell Oraeme had 20 points and 20 rebounds, while Joseph Eriobu finished with 19 markers for the Cardinals, who moved into solo fourth place in the team standings.
Bong Quinto scored 20 points for Letran, which was able to trim Mapua’s lead to one point on a triple by Rey Nambatac, 76-75.
Quinto was called for a travelling late in the game, and Eriobu was fouled at the buzzer and hit two free throws to settle the final score.
The reigning champion Knights faltered in the end game as they lost a 12-point lead. They finished the first round with a 5-4 win-loss record.
Mapua 79 — Oraeme 20, Eriobu 19, Menina 17, Isit 9, Orquina 4, Biteng 3, Victoria 3, Estrella 2, Serrano 2, Raflores 0.
Letran 75 — Quinto 20, Sollano 16, Nambatac 13, Calvo 9, Balanza 8, Luib 7, Ambohot 2, Apreku 0, Bernabe 0.
Quarterscores: 19-22; 38-42; 54-58; 79-75.