JOSAN Nimes ushered his return to Mapua with an 87-78 win over pesky San Sebastian to stay alive in the Final Four race of the NCAA Season 91 at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.
The PBA-bound guard posted 18 points, three rebounds, six assists, and a steal in his comeback game for the team after missing out on its last three matches due to a pulled left hamstring.
A team which missed the semifinals the last three season, Mapua improved to 6-5 overall as it won for the second straight time for sixth place in the standings.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Nimes when asked about his return to action. “I’m old enough already to handle it. I’m already 90 percent (towards recovery).”
“We’ll just use this momentum,” added the 12th overall pick in the last PBA draft. “This is a very good momentum for us.”
The Cardinals led by as much as 14 before the Stags threatened within five, 78-83, with 1:03 left to play.
But Allwell Oraeme and Nimes scored back-to-back baskets to bail Mapua out of danger.
Oraeme came away with 11 points and 18 rebounds for the Cardinals, while Mark Brana, Darell Menina, and John Nieles each had 10 markers.
“Minotivate ako ni coach (Atoy Co) na ibuhos ko na lahat kasi last playing year ko na,” said Brana. “Goal namin mag Final Four at gift na namin ‘yun kay coach Atoy kasi sobrang bait niya sa amin.”
Jamil Ortuoste made 23 points, including five triples, for San Sebastian, while Ryan Costelo added 15, Michael Calisaan chipped, in 13 and Jayson David had 10.
The Stags dropped to eight spot with a 3-9 card.
Mapua (87) - Nimes 18, Oraeme 11, Nieles 10, Menina 10, Brana 10, Biteng 9, Que 7, Aguirre 6, Serrano 4, Raflores 2, Dela Rosa 0.
San Sebastian (78) - Ortuoste 23, Costelo 15, Calisaan 13, David 10, Fabian 8, Guinto 7, Santos 2, Sibal 0, Pretta 0, Bulanadi 0, Vera 0.
Quarterscores: 23-27; 45-43; 67-57; 87-78.