Stags survive Knights on NCAA ’90 opening day thriller
MANILA, Philippines – In a matchup that looked nearly identical on paper, the San Sebastian Stags had stronger horns than the lances of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 85-83, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Knights forward Kevin Racal turned the ball over with 17 seconds remaining sealing their faith against the Stags.
Stags guard John Ortuoste played hero for the Stags with a go-away three with 19 seconds remaining in the clock.
Humbled by his game-winner, Ortuoste said he didn’t think the ball would go in and when it did, called the shot “a blessing from God”.
“I was just thinking, that we should win,” Ortuoste said.
CJ Perez paced the Stags with 20 points and 12 boards, Ortuoste added 16 and guard Jovit Dela Cruz had 15.
Reneford Ruaya scored a couple of markers for the Knights with 40 seconds remaining, giving Letran their final lead of the game 83-82.
San Sebastian had an 11-0 run to start of the 4th quarter with Ortuoste scoring on a mid-range jumper to put the boards, 71-70.
“The offense just comes to us, it’s always defense that’s our focus,” Ortuoste said.
Stags head coach Rodney Santos said that the victory on the first day of the season would be a statement game for the whole team.
“This is gonna make a statement, especially against Letran,” Santos said. “It’s a statement that we’re for real.”
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