Ortuoste-led Stags beat Altas, inch closer to NCAA semis berth
MANILA, Philippines – San Sebastian rode on Jamil Ortuoste down the stretch as the Stags assured themselves of at least a playoff for the last Final Four spot after beating Perpetual Help, 71-65, in the NCAA Season 89 men’s basketball tournament Saturday night at the Arena in San Juan.
Ortuoste scored his team’s last eight points including a go-ahead jumper and a game-sealing triple en route to an efficient 19-point effort on six-of-eight shooting from the field.
“I was needed inside so I had to deliver,” said the rookie guard Ortuoste. “We weren’t surprised that we won because we really prepared for this.”
“We know how much this game means to us,” said San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson. “We know what Perpetual Help could do. It all boiled down to making stops.”
The Stags, who closed the game on an 18-5 run after trailing, 53-60, in the final 6:26 of the game, gained a one game lead over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals for a semifinals slot.
The five-foot-10 Ortuoste broke a 63-tie with two free throws before pushing San Sebastian’s to four and padding onto it, 70-65, with a deep trey from the right wing over the outstretched arms of Perpetual Help big man Justine Alano with 34.7 ticks left.
“It was just courage. Heart also. A broken play as well,” Ortuoste said of his clutch basket.
CJ Perez also came up big for the Stags with 23 points and two steals.
“We win games with these two guys, we lose games with these two guys,” Robinson said of Perez and Ortuoste.
The Altas, who absorbed their fourth straight setback, came back after trailing big early with Juneric Baloria and Harold Arboleda providing the firepower with Nosa Omorogbe sitting the game out due to a right knee injury.
Baloria scored 16 points but only scored four in the second half while Arboleda had 23 and seven rebounds.
A win by San Sebastian over St. Benilde in its final game of the eliminations will not only give the Stags a semis ticket but also the no.3 spot due to a better quotient than Perpetual Help.
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