Abueva makes history as Stags repeat over Lions to clinch No.2By Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Calvin Abueva took over in the fourth quarter to lead San Sebastian to a 69-55 statement win over San Beda Monday night to clinch the second place in the NCAA Season 88 men’s basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Abueva unleashed 23 points, hauled down 16 rebounds on top of three assists and two blocks as the Stags claimed the last twice-to-beat edge and will battle Letran in the Final Four.
“No one wants to shoot. Only Abueva had the guts to shoot,” said SSC head coach Allan Trinidad. “Our defense made it for us. Hindi nila na-dominate yung ilalim.”
The Stags won despite not having sharp shooter Ronald Pascual since the 5:54 mark of the first quarter after getting called for a questionable disqualifying foul.
“Malaking bagay yung nawala si Pascual but we were able to adjust,” added Trinidad, who was shocked with his swingman’s ejection.
The top seed Red Lions, who will face either Perpetual Help or Jose Rizal University in the semifinals, roared back and came as close as two points, 41-43, heading into the final frame.
But Abueva and would-be MVP Ian Sangalang just wouldn’t let San Beda completely come back into the game.
Abueva accounted for the Stags first eight points in the payoff period highlighted by two threes, the second one giving his team a 51-43 lead, with 6:27 left.
Doing more damage, the six-foot-two Abueva made added the exclamation point of a dunk to end the game.
Abueva became the first player in the country to lead a professional basketball league in average points, rebounds and assists at the end of the elimination round.
“We’re playing as a team on both ends, we’re distributing the ball well,” commended Trinidad, whose squad proved its 80-71 first round win over San Beda was no fluke. “Our strategy was to hold down Amer. We shut down that inside pass to Adeogun.”
Baser Amer had seven assists but struggled offensively. Ola Adeogun sparked a San Beda run to end the third period but overall had a sub-par outing with five points and six rebounds.
Minus Pascual, the Stags even got the upperhand and built and early double-digit lead thanks to the solid play of second stringer Dexter Maiquez.
Pascual will be suspended in Game 1 of San Sebastian’s best-of-three series versus Letran but Trinidad doesn’t seem to be too worried about it.
“We beat San Beda without him, I think we can also beat Letran.”
Trinidad said they will ask Pascual’s disqualifying foul to be downgraded to avoid his suspension.
Maiquez contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Rome dela Rosa paced San Beda with 12 points.