Paolo Hernandez Bids Farewell to Mapua Cardinals, Eyes Pro Career

Paolo Hernandez Bids Farewell to Mapua Cardinals, Eyes Pro Career

After a remarkable collegiate career with the Mapua University Cardinals, Paolo Hernandez has decided to hang up his jersey and move on to the next chapter of his basketball journey. The veteran shooter will not be returning to Mapua for NCAA Season 100, marking the end of an era for the talented forward.

Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara confirmed the news, expressing his appreciation for Hernandez’s contributions to the team both on and off the court. “Paolo, hindi na namin makakasama sa Season 100. Pa-graduate na rin siya [sa academic] eh,” Alcantara shared during Mapua’s visit at the GMA headquarters for the Masterclass.

Hernandez’s decision to focus on his academic pursuits while excelling in basketball reflects his dedication and discipline. Throughout his tenure with the Cardinals, the 6-foot-3 forward played a pivotal role in the team’s success, emerging as one of their top scorers and leaders on the court.

In Season 97, Hernandez showcased his versatility, averaging 10.92 points, 5.17 rebounds, 1.58 assists, and 1.33 steals per game, helping guide Mapua to the finals. Although they fell short against Letran, Hernandez’s contributions were instrumental in the team’s journey to the championship series.

The following season, Hernandez continued to excel, playing a key role in Mapua’s impressive run to the finals in Season 99. Alongside Warren Bonifacio and NCAA Season 99 MVP Clint Escamis, Hernandez led the Cardinals to the top seed in the elimination round with 15 wins and three losses. Despite their valiant effort, Mapua fell to San Beda University in the finals, narrowly missing out on the elusive title.

With Hernandez’s departure, Mapua will look to their young core, led by Escamis, to step up and fill the void left by the veteran forward. Players like Cyrus Cuenco, JC Recto, Kobe Dalisay, and Jeco Bancale will be tasked with taking on more significant roles as the Cardinals aim to build on their past successes and strive for championship glory in the upcoming season.