MAPUA used a huge second quarter run to beat Arellano, 93-75, on Tuesday and clinch a Final Four berth in the NCAA Season 91 seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Josan Nimes scored 21 points, including 13 in the second quarter that saw the Cardinals finish with a 12-2 run for a commanding 49-33 halftime edge.
The Cardinals, who led by as many as 25 points, have a chance to improve its position when it battles Jose Rizal University in a playoff for the No. 3 spot on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It was a big accomplishment for MIT, which last made it to the Final Four in 2010.
Allwell Oraeme had 13 points and 28 rebounds with the victory most likely giving him the MVP honors for the season. Under NCAA rules, only players whose team made it to the Final Four are eligible to win the most prestigious individual award.
“I don’t think it has really hit me yet. I know it will, eventually,” said Nimes moments after the victory. “No words can describe it.”
Following Mapua’s second quarter explosion, the Cardinals turned it on again in the third, posting the biggest lead of the game at 62-37 midway through the period.
The Chiefs closed the gap to single digits but the Cardinals easily extended the lead.
Jiovani Jalalon finished with 37 points but could not pull his team to victory on his own as no other player scored in double digits for the Chiefs, who fell well short of their runner-up finish last year.
CJ Isit and Darell Menina had 14 points each while Justin Serrano and Mark Brana had 10 points apiece for the Cardinals.
Mapua (93) — Nimes 21, Isit 14, Menina 14, Oraeme 13, Serrano 10, Brana 10, Aguirre 6, Nieles 5, Que 0.
Arellano (75) — Jalalon 37, Salado 9, Cadavis 7, Nicholls 6, Meca 4, Bangga 4, Tano 4, Holts 2, Enriquez 2, Ongolo-Ongolo 0, Gumaru 0, Ortega 0, Zamora 0.
Quarterscores: 16-15; 49-33; 69-51; 93-75.