Randy Alcantara sees semblance of 1991 Mapua championship team in current Cardinals squad | NCAA Philippines

The last time Mapua University won the championship in the NCAA men's basketball tournament was in 1991 before the title proved elusive for the Intramuros-based squad for the next seasons.

Current Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara took part in that title run, joining Cardinals legend Benny Cheng in capturing that year's throne as the school completed back-to-back crowns after also ruling the edition prior.

Alcantara admitted that he sees some kind of semblance of that team in his current squad that is making a strong case in the ongoing Season 99 with an impressive 7-1 win-loss card behind rookie Clint Escamis and veteran big man Warren Bonifacio.

"Marami pang factor naman ang nakikita ko kasi nung time naman na ‘yun konti lang ‘yung malalaki, ang malaki lang namin ay si Benny Cheng eh. Ngayon, maliliit kami sa lineup sa NCAA pero malaki ‘yung puso namin," Alcantara said on the heels of their 79-65 win against Arellano on Wednesday.

"Na-witness ko ‘yun eh, kung gaano kalaki ‘yung puso ni Benny Cheng para i-lead ‘yung championship nung 1991. Ngayon naman, lahat naman ng players sa team namin ay best effort talaga at may puso to win every game."

(There are a lot of factors because during that time, only a few were big, only Benny Cheng. Now, we have small guys in our lineup but with big hearts. I saw how big Benny Cheng's heart is in leading us in 1991. Now, all players give their best effort and there's heart to win every game.)

In 1991, Mapua topped the elimination round with an 8-2 card to advance to the finals against then San Beda College. The Cardinals needed three games to dispose of the Red Lions with Cheng playing a crucial role in Game 3 of the Season 67 finals.

The next time the Cardinals would reach the finals round would be in Season 97, or 31 years after that 1991 team's accomplishment, but they failed to get the job done after falling to eventual champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran in sweep fashion.

But with what they are currently showing now, Alcantara hopes the magic continues for the Cardinals as they look to finish the business this time around.

"‘Yung malaking puso nakikita ko sa team ngayon and sana tuloy-tuloy ‘yung goal na everyday ay makikipag-compete kami," he added.

(I am seeing their hearts with this team so hopefully, our goal to compete will continue.)

—JKC, GMA Integrated News

Other Stories