Mapua eliminated reigning titlist Letran Knights, 77-72, to strengthen its bid for the Final Four in the NCAA Season 92 Men’s Basketball Division on Tuesday, at the FilOil Flying V Arena, San Juan.

The Knights, who bagged their championship title after 16 years, permanently sat out of the Final Four race, thereby denying them a chance to defend their crown.

Mapua, on the other hand, clinched its tenth win against five losses, which paved the way for the Cardinals to earn at least a playoff for a Final Four slot.

Letran dropped to its 8-9 win-loss slate, to become the first champion to be eliminated after winning the title the a season ago.

Allwell Oraeme scored 21 points, while Denniel Aguirre, Joseph Eriobu, and Shane Menina had 12 markers apiece for the Cardinals.

Game Scores:

Mapua Cardinals (77) – Oraeme 21, Aguirre 12, Eriobu 12, Menina 12, Victoria 9, Isit 6, Bunag 3, Estrella 2, Orquina 0, Raflores 0, Serrano 0

Letran Knights (72) – Nambatac 19, Quinto 16, Balanza 10, Calvo 10, Sollano 10, Luib 3, Ambohot 2, Apreku 2, Balagasay 0, dela Pena 0, Ular 0

Quarterscores: 15-7; 39-29; 60-49; 77-72