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NCAA Basketball: Mapua and Perpetual Clinch Crucial Victories in Thrilling Fashion

MANILA, Philippines—The NCAA Season 99 Final Four race continued to heat up with a pair of game-winners highlighting Sunday’s tripleheader.

Mark Omega banked in a triple with 2.4 ticks remaining to shoot Perpetual Help past Lyceum, 81-80, to bolster the Altas’ Final Four bid.

Perpetual Help fanned its winning streak to four games as it improved to 8-7.

The Pirates, meanwhile, had their five-game winning streak snapped as they slid to the second seed with an 11-4 record.

Omega notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds while Marcus Nitura flirted with a triple-double, collecting 18 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

As if one cardiac finish wasn’t enough, Mapua also needed one big shot down the stretch to top San Beda, 71-69, in the final game of the day.

Paolo Hernandez, who only had four points, drained the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final 32 seconds as the Cardinals gained solo first place at 12-3.

The game also had big implications for the Red Lions, who slid to 8-6 and dropped half a game behind fourth-running Jose Rizal University

Clint Escamis paced the Cardinals anew with 21 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals while Marc Cuenco and Warren Bonifacio finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Jacob Cortez’s game-high 24 points went down the drain as well as Yukien Andrada’s 15 points and eight rebounds. Andrada had a chance to win it for the Red Lions but his 3-point try hit the side of the backboard as time ran out.

Earlier, College of St. Benilde booted San Sebastian out of playoff contention, 78-68.

Will Gozum to scored for the Blazers with 14 points while Robi Nayve and Migs Oczon both had identical 13-point and 10-rebound double-doubles to push Benilde to a 10-5 card.

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Romel Calahat paced the Golden Stags (5-10) with 14 points and nine boards.