MANILA, Philippines—CJ Perez sank the go-ahead basket late as San Sebastian beat Emilio Aguinaldo College, 81-74, in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Monday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Perez uncorked a clutch three-pointer from the left corner that gave the Stags a 77-74 cushion with only 44 seconds left en route to their third straight win.
“To God be the glory. Talagang binigay niya ito sa amin. Yun yung pinagdadasal namin. Para kay coach Topex ito na wala dito. Talagang ginawa lang namin yung part namin ni Jamil (Ortuoste) ni Perez pero hindi lang naman silang dalawa lang. Yung buong team. Sila De Vera, Guinto at Jovit dela Cruz nagstep up sila ,” said assistant coach Raymond Valenzona, who filled in for head coach Topex Robinson for the second consecutive game.
“Nung tumira si CJ ng three points, dun nasabi ko na na amin talaga ito sabi ko kasi binigay sa amin tong panalo na ito. Open siya, hindi forced shot,” added Valenzona.
Perez’s triple came after Generals’ guard Jan Jamon, who finished with a game-high 25 points, knotted the count at 74, with 59 ticks left.
“Galing sila sa talo so inexpect talaga namin na babawi sila. Nag-double effort kami sa practice,” said Valenzona.
The Stags, who hiked their record to 4-2, came back from seven points down entering the final quarter with Perez, Jamil Ortuoste and Leo De Vera contributing.
Perez led the way with 20 points, 15 rebounds and four assists while Ortuoste, who has been a revelation this season for San Sebastian, added 16 points, four rebounds and five assists. Starting center Bradwyn Guinto added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
De Vera only had nine points but eight of which came in the fourth period, including a triple and a layup that got the lead back to the Stags, 67-66, with 6:52 remaining.
“Buong team nag-effort talaga para manalo kami,” Perez said.
“Sobrang ganda nung laban. Pinakita ng bawat isa sa amin na step up talaga lahat lalo na sa depensa. Offense kasi sabi ng mga coaches nandyan na so wag na namin problemahin. So mag-focus lang kami sa defense, so yun nga defense nagpanalo sa amin,” said Ortuoste, who set up Guinto’s game-sealing basket, 79-74, in the final 32 seconds.
Jamon had 18 points in the first half but cooled off in the second half with just seven markers as EAC reeled to its third setback in a row for a lowly 1-5 record.