Mapua unloaded 13 points in the last three minutes to get back at University of Perpetual Help, 74-71, and keep its Final Four bid alive last night in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Down 61-63, the Cardinals outscored the Altas, 13-8, to reclaim the lead for good in the last 10.1 seconds.
Though the Altas had a chance to send the game into overtime after Mapua's turnover, Earl Thompson missed a potential game-winning three-point shot as the final buzzer sounded.
The win, which improved Mapua's record to 6-9, enabled coach Chito Victolero to heave a sigh of relief.
It was also a sweet revenge for the Cardinals who suffered a 91-88 defeat to the Altas in the first round.
Despite the loss, Perpetual remained in third place at 9-6 but it has to share the position with idle Letran.
Perpetual, however, put its loss under protest upon the order of a school official.
"Kung ako, ayoko ng protesta. Kung papasok, papasok kami. Kung may mga ganung tawag na di namin magustuhan, limutin na lang yan. Wala ng magagawa," said Del Rosario, who got a technical foul for excessive complaint in the last 2:20 of the game.