La Salle, Mapua duel for NCAA jr cage crown
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — La Salle-Greenhills shoots for a back-to-back title while Mapua seeks to join San Beda as the league’s most titled high school team as the two go at it one final time in the 94th NCAA juniors basketball tournament at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

The Red Robins bounced back from a 69-74 defeat in the series opener on Nov. 6 by downing the Junior Blazers, 85-76, in Game Two Tuesday that forced the deciding game set at 2 p.m.

With their best player Clint Escamis sitting down with a left knee injury, Mapua drew strength from Dan Arches, Paolo Hernandez and Jonnel Policarpio in snaring the Game Two victory that gave them a chance to win their 22nd championship, which will tie them with the Red Cubs with most titles.

“The player knows we have to win without our best player and I’m so proud that the team stepped up big in Game Two to give us a chance at winning another championship,” said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara.

It will be the third time that Alcantara will be playing a Game Three after splitting the first two including last season when they came a few plays away from winning it all before losing it to La Salle-Greenhills.

Alcantara said they learned from last year’s mistakes.

“We need to really play intelligently and keep away from foolish fouls that we committed last year,” he said.

LSGH, for its part, is expected to rely on Joel Cagulangan, last year’s Finals MVP and this year’s season MVP, and hope to repeat as champions.

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