By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE Mapua Cardinals seek to continue their assault on the top half of the standings of Season 95 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association when they trek back to action today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Set to take on the College of Saint Benilde Blazers in the scheduled 2 p.m. match, the Cardinals, currently at sixth place with a 4-6 record, will try to forge ahead and catch up with the league leaders as competition in the country’s oldest collegiate league hits the critical stretch.

Mapua is coming off a gutsy double-overtime win, 105-101, over the Letran Knights on Sept. 13 where Noah Lugo exploded for a career-high 31 points.

The Cardinals played catch-up for much of the contest but delivered when it needed the most to outlast the Knights and fashion out the upset win which set off their second-round campaign to a good start.

Cyril Gonzales tallied 18 markers in the Mapua win with Laurenz Victoria and Justin Serrano adding 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“The players really worked hard to get this win [against Letran] both offensively and defensively. We held on in overtime and in the second overtime. It was not easy but I give credit to the players for not giving up and fighting all the way to the end,” said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara after their hard-earned victory.

Out to stop Mapua is Saint Benilde (6-4), which has experienced some slowing down after opening their season campaign with five straight victories.

The Blazers have lost four of their last five matches, including their last two against Letran and the San Sebastian Stags, in that order.

James Pasturan is leading the way for CSB with 10.3 points per ball game.

Justin Gutang has been good for 10.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists while Yankie Haruna is adding nine points a game for the TY Tang-coached Blazers.

Also playing today are San Sebastian (7-3) against the Perpetual Help Altas (3-7) at 12 noon and the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers (4-7) versus the Arellano Chiefs (2-9) at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi is the reigning NCAA player of the week after dropping a career-high 32 points in their win over CSB on Sept. 13.

The veteran wingman shot 11-of-21 from the field, punctuated by five triples.

In winning the award, given by media covering the league, Mr. Bulanadi bested Lugo of Mapua, Donald Tankoua of San Beda, and Reymar Caduyac of Lyceum.