Mapua Cardinals Seek Redemption in NCAA Season 99 Finals Against San Beda


Warren Bonifacio, the 6-foot-5 power forward of the Mapua Cardinals, is determined to rewrite history and bury the haunting memories of their Season 97 championship defeat. The Cardinals aim to clinch victory against the San Beda Red Lions in the NCAA Season 99 Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Reflecting on the near-miss in Season 97, Bonifacio emphasizes the lessons learned, gearing up for redemption. The Mapua Cardinals are fueled by the bitter taste of last year’s forgettable season, where they missed the semifinals by a significant margin.

This season brought a rejuvenated Mapua Cardinals squad, bolstered by the addition of rookie-Most Valuable Player contender Clint Escamis. Escamis’s late-game heroics in Game 1 provided the Mapua Cardinals with a crucial advantage in the best-of-three series against the San Beda Red Lions.

Coach Randy Alcantara places trust in a diverse lineup, including veteran swingmen Paolo Hernandez, imposing big men Jopet Soriano, JC Recto, and the resilient Warren Bonifacio. Defensive specialist Ryle Rosillo, assigned to limit Jacob Cortez’s impact, showcased his prowess by holding the San Beda Red Lions guard scoreless in the first half.

Anticipating adjustments from the San Beda Red Lions,  Alcantara emphasizes the need for his team to stay focused and expects a tougher challenge in the upcoming game. The Mapua Cardinals demonstrated efficiency in covering the three-point arc, a notable strength of the Red Lions.

While San Beda Red Lions coach Yuri Escueta acknowledges the difficulty of the match, he relies on wingmen James Payosing, Nygel Gonzales, and forward Jomel Puno to generate offense. Guards Oliver Tagle and Peter Alfaro are expected to play crucial roles, and the Lions aim to capitalize on their potent outside shooting.

Read Also: Adrian Nocum’s Trust in Mapua to Win NCAA Season 99 Finals

The San Beda, known for their resilience, nearly orchestrated a comeback in the previous game, narrowing a 16-point deficit. However, Mapua’s solid defense and strategic play denied them victory.

As the series unfolds, Escamis, the multi-dimensional playmaker, prepares to receive his rookie-MVP award—a testament to his exceptional skills. Escamis follows in the footsteps of Mapua’s Allwell Oraeme, becoming the first freshman MVP since 2015.

In the quest for redemption, Mapua emphasizes composure, patience, and precise execution of plays. The Cardinals are determined to make history and secure the NCAA Season 99 championship, turning the page on past disappointments.

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