Boboy Mangubat sparks late Mapua rally in stunner vs. Perpetual | NCAA Philippines

Boboy Mangubat caught fire just in time as Mapua University stormed back from early deficit to stun erstwhile undefeated University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 72-71, in the NCAA Season 99 juniors basketball tournament on Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

The Red Robins, who were reeling from an 86-69 loss to Colegio de San Juan de Letran last Friday, improved to 5-1 to forge a three-way tie at the top spot with the defending champion and the Junior ALTAs, who saw their five-game winning streak come to a halt. 

Mangubat top-scored Mapua with 25 points, 11 of those came in the pivotal fourth quarter, alongside five rebounds and two assists as the Red Robins erased a 10-point disadvantage en route to the narrow win. 

The Junior ALTAs caught napping in defense early in the fourth with the Red Robins unleashing a 10-0 run to tie things up at 59-all. Perpetual, though, had some answers before the lefty Mangubat sank two freebies and completed a layup that gave them a 68-67 cushion.

Mangubat then sank a technical free throw for a 72-70 lead in the final 33 seconds while Perpetual's Aries Borja's split sent the affair to a one-point ballgame.

Another back-to-back misses from the stripe from Nico Mulingtapang gave Perpetual the chance to tie or even get back the lead, but a scramble on the final play allowed Mapua to run away with the win. 

"We're happy na nakuha namin ang game na to. Credit to the players, they showed their hearts para makuha ang game na 'to. Sabi ko nga sa kanila nung halftime, we need to play with pride and big heart, I'm happy na nag-respond ang players," head coach Yong Garcia told GMA News Online.

(We're happy we won this game. Credit to the players, they showed their hearts to get this one. I told them during halftime, we need to play with pride and big heart, I'm happy the players responded.)

Sean Salvador provided the help for Mapua, tallying 13 points and six rebounds while Jonalance Masiglat finished with a double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds. 

Borja led the Junior ALTAs with 18 points, eight rebounds, and two steals while Lebron Jhames Daep chimed in with 15 markers, five boards, two dimes, and three steals. They suffered a minor setback in the payoff period when veteran forward Amiel Acido was fouled out with 4:45 to go.  

Mapua will face Lyceum of the Philippines University on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. while Perpetual will look to bounce back against Jose Rizal University at 2:30 p.m. on the same day. 

—Bea Micaller/JKC, GMA Integrated News

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