Generals stun Stags in NCAA 88By Mark Giongco
Nearly impossible but somehow the Generals got it done en route to a 77-67 stunner of the Stags Saturday in the NCAA Season 88 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
“We really prepared for San Sebastian. Kay Abueva at sirain lang yung rhythm ni Pascual ang plano namin,” said EAC assistant coach Andy de Guzman, filling in for head coach Gerry Esplana, who served a one-game suspension.
EAC actually led by as much as 15, 26-11, in the opening quarter before San Sebastian cut it to one, 58-57, entering the fourth period.
That though, was the closest the Stags got after the Generals, led by three players with more than 17 points each, restored order and again led by double-digits, 71-61, after an Igee King right corner triple with 4:43 left.
Russell Yaya had a team-high 18 points while Noube Happi and King scored 17.
“He’s our missing link at the two spot,” said De Guzman of King, whose 17 points was his career-high.
EAC nearly pulled off the same feat before falling short, 93-94, in the first round but for the Generals that game gave them the confidence that they can beat the Stags.
This marked the first time EAC, which improved its mark to 3-7, beat San Sebastian since joining the league in 2009.
Ian Sangalang almost single-handedly kept San Sebastian within reach as Pascual and Abueva struggled. Sangalang finished with game-highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds.
Pascual, who surprisingly pulled out of the 2012 PBA Draft, still ended up with 10 points but went 1-of-16 from downtown, four-of-21 overall.
“I felt like I won’t be picked in the first round,” feared Pascual. “And I haven’t fully recovered yet from my injury so I backed out.”
Abueva, the projected second overall pick, meanwhile, failed to hit a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
The six-foot-three workhorse was also hobbled by foul trouble and eventually fouled out after picking up a technical foul with still six minutes left.
After routing fierce rival San Beda in its previous game, San Sebastian played sloppily as it dropped to 7-3.