AT least Mapua is performing well in the juniors’ division.
While their seniors’ counterparts finished tied for last place, the Red Robins are on the verge of capturing their first title in over a decade after scoring an 84-75 victory over San Beda in the finals on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Robins leaned on a breakaway in the payoff period behind forward David Velvez to gain a head start in their best-of-three series.
They are a win away from securing their first championship since 2000.
Mapua, which just six years ago wound up winless in a season, also put the Red Cubs’ five-year reign in peril.
The Red Robins can wrap it up on Wednesday in Game Two at 11 a.m. also at the MOA Arena.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair until the Red Robins pulled away behind Velvez, who scored nine of his 14 points in the final frame, where they outscored their opponents, 21-12.
“Nag-click kami nung last part nung third tsaka fourth,” Red Robins coach Randy Alcantara said.
Kenneth Alas fired a team-high 15 points that went for naught for the Red Cubs.
MIT 84 – Bonifacio 18, Lugo 14, Velvez 14, Victoria 12, Concepcion 7, Calderon 4, Aguirre 4, Pascua 4, Salenga 4, Cabural 3
SBC 75 – Alas 15, Decapia 13, Furaque 12, Diputado 12, Abuhijle 9, Framil 5, Bordeus 4, Caracut 4, Abatayo 1, Alfaro 0
Quarterscores: 23-23, 44-45, 63-63, 84-75