[PHOTO AT LEFT -  Andaratti Stevens of Mapua passes to a teammate from under the stretched arm of Ralph Nacu of Angeles U Foundation at The Arena in San Juan. JUN MENDOZA MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JULY 11, 2009 (STAR) John Wilson dished out another superb game as Jose Rizal smashed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-69, yesterday to seize a share of the lead in the 85th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Wilson hit four triples and finished with 22 points he laced with 10 boards, three steals and two assists without committing a single error to power the Bombers to their third straight triumph and a piece of the lead.

“He’s without doubt one of our best players,” said Jose Rizal coach Ariel Vanguardia of the talented Wilson, a member of PBL champion Oracle Residences.

The Generals fell to their third defeat in row.

Earlier, Mapua drew strength from other sources when top gun Allan Mangahas struggled as it overpowered Angeles U Foundation, 101-63, to score its first win in three starts.

With Mangahas held to only seven points, Mark Acosta, Erwin Cornejo and Jason Pascual gladly picked up the slack and torched the Great Danes with 21, 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“It feels good to finally win this season,” said neophyte coach Chito Victolero, who replaced Barako Bull coach Leo Isaac late last year.

Victolero, a former Cardinal himself, said Mangahas fired up the team despite his so-so offensives.

“The most important thing is he provided us with leadership and he created situations for his teammates,” said Victolero.

The Cardinals, who made it to the Final Four but lost to eventual champion San Beda last season, took the Great Danes out of their comfort zone from start to finish.

In fact, Mapua silenced AUF’s top two scorers – Aaron Santos and Matt Carney, who had 29 and 24 points in an 86-75 thrashing of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals Monday.

Carney, an Amerasian, was held to just seven points and turned the ball six times while Santos fared even worse as he was held to just two shots and finished scoreless in the contest. – Joey Villar

UAAP wars on; Warriors face young Archers By Joey Villar Updated July 11, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The UAAP cage wars unwrap today with a promise of another exciting, thrilling season among eight schools with different styles but with the same mission – win the coveted crown.

University of the East and La Salle, two teams tipped to contend for Final Four berths, collide in the 4 p.m. main game, each hoping to start out strong in a season expected to be another wide-open race.

University of Santo Tomas and Adamson square off in the other game at 2 p.m., both raring to put one over the other before an expected full-house crowd.

Elaborate opening rites kick off the inaugurals at 1 p.m. with host Far Eastern U putting up a grand show underscoring the league’s theme “One Color, One Goal”.

FEU president Linda Echauz will declare the games open.

The four other schools get their chance to show their wares tomorrow with Ateneo opening its title-retention campaign against a fancied FEU side at 4 p.m. and University of the Phils. taking on National U at 2 p.m.

On paper, the Warriors appear to have the edge against the Archers, who were swept by the Eagles in last year’s finale but will have a practically rookie-laden roster this season.

Veterans Elmer Espiritu, Pari Llagas, Paul Lee, Paul Zamar, Rudy Lingganay and Raffy Reyes will be the men to watch for the Warriors, who finished second to the FEU Tams in the Filoil tourney and trained abroad in their buildup for this year’s hostilities.

Without JV Casio and Rico Maeirhofer, their top scorer and rebounder, respectively, last year, the Archers will be banking on holdovers PJ Barua, Bader Malabes, Alvin Malabes, Hyram Bagatsing, Simon Atkins, Indonesian Ferdinand and Joshua Webb and hope a couple or more of their rookies will explode.

They include Arvie Bringas, who helped lead San Sebastian to a four-peat in the NCAA juniors division. But he is coming off a groin injury he sustained a few weeks ago which could slow down the top high school prospect in his UAAP debut.

The other La Salle rookies are Yutien Andrada, Gabriel Banal, Jed Manguera, Samuel Marata and Joseph Tolentino.

Also worth watching is the duel between 2006 champion Santo Tomas and unpredictable Adamson.

The Tigers have lost practically the core of their team the last three years, including 2007 MVP Jervy Cruz, while the Falcons are playing minus Marc Agustin and Paul Gonzalgo.

“We have high hopes this season because we not only have an intact lineup, we also practically played together for a whole year,” Adamson mentor Leo Austria said.

But UST mentor Pido Jarencio remains confident of the Tigers’ chances as he counts on Smart Gilas Pilipinas hotshot Dylan Ababou to inspire the team.

UST and Adamson are seeking to improve their performance last year when they ended up fifth and sixth places, respectively.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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