WILL Gozum had 19 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks to power Mapua to a 72-67 win over National University to clinch a finals berth in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup juniors division on Friday.
Gozum's double-double and his crucial baskets led the Red Robins to the win and a spot in the championship game on Sunday where they will face either Ateneo or University of Santo Tomas.
Brian Lacap finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and two blocks, while Joaqui Garcia added 12 points, five rebounds, and five assists for Mapua, who trailed 67-65 in the fourth after a basket by Paul Manalang.
Gozum tied the count again at 67 before scoring a putback with 53.6 seconds to play in the match for a two-point lead. Mapua preserved its advantage as NU came up empty on its next possessions.
Mapua coach Randy Alcantara, however, rued the missed free throws the Red Robins committed in the fourth quarter despite the big win over the Bullpups.
"Hindi biro talunin 'yung NU pero hindi rin biro 'yung ginawa namin sa fourth quarter na 13 misses sa foul shots," said Alcantara.
Cyril Gonzales had 17 points, while Manalang had 16 points for NU, which will play in the battle-for-third against the loser of the Blue Eaglets-Tiger Cubs match.
MIT 72 - Gozum 19, Lacap 16, Garcia 12, Bonifacio 9, Escamis 9, Sarmiento 4, Jabel 3, Enriquez 0, Ramos 0, Dennison 0, Archies 0, Malaluan 0.
NU 67 - Gonzales 17, Manalang 16, Coyoca 9, Amsali 6, Malonzo 4, Minerva 4, Puray 4, Fortea 3, Felicida 2, Javillonar 1, Pangilinan 1, Pradella 0, Gayola 0.
Quarters: 13-15, 40-31, 58-50, 72-67.