Hot Stags end Bombers run; Chiefs scoreBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
RONALD Pascual wants to make up for lost time.
Rediscovering his shooting touch after a second scoreless outing this season, Pascual caught fire early to propel San Sebastian to a surprising 101-78 drubbing of Jose Rizal U last night in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
The 6-foot-2 guard from Mexico, Pampanga, only in his fourth game back from a knee injury, notched a season-high 26 points, including four treys, as the Stags pinned a first loss on the Bombers and forged a three-way tie with their victims and the idle Perpetual Help Altas.
Forward Calvin Abueva tallied his 18th straight double-double with 25 points and 10 boards on top of seven assists for the Stags, who have now won three straight after dropping their first assignment against Letran on opening-day.
Pascual was held scoreless in two of the Stags’ first three games, but he caught fire early with 12 points in the first period where the Stags established control and never looked back.
“I was feeling good with my shot and I got instructions to keep shooting,” Pascual said in Filipino. “I’m playing at 90 percent. I’m still hoping to improve.”
Undaunted by the Bombers’ perfect record going into the game, the Stags came out aggressive with Pascual on the firing end. The Stags also drew a superb effort from Ian Sangalang, who finished with 19 points and 10 boards.
“The only way for JRU to beat us is if they outwork us,” said San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson. “I think we matched their intensity and the tempo of their game.”
Bombers guard Nate Matute—the league’s leading scorer—still got away with 27 points despite added defensive attention from the Stags, but failed to get solid support with Byron Villarias and John Lopez the only other players finishing in double figures.
Finding its rhythm early, Arellano registered the most lopsided win of its NCAA existence after blitzing past Lyceum, 83-52, in the earlier game.
Facing a team that was playing its third game in seven days, the Chiefs proved relentless, getting solid contributions from almost everyone in their roster to score their second straight victory and rise to 2-3.
Fil-Canadian guard James Forrester sustained his strong play with 19 points and six rebounds.
Arellano coach Koy Banal refused to get carried away by the convincing win, saying his team remains a work in progress.
“I didn’t think we did something extraordinary today,” said Banal. “Lyceum looked tired and that’s why we were able to capitalize.”
Banal has been employing the triangle offense to the Chiefs and the equal opportunity offense that predicates player and ball movement has worked wonders in their last two games.
“We’re buying into the system,” said Forrester, who hails from Ontario, Canada. “We can only go where coach Koy takes us.”