Stags nip Knights; Lions roar
The San Sebastian Stags got the job done, this time.
Diminutive guard Ryan Costelo knocked in the go-ahead basket in traffic with nine seconds remaining as the Stags finally pulled off what they failed to do in the first round, stunning the Letran Knights, 89-87, Tuesday night for only their third win in the 91st NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Michael Calisaan shone again with 27 points and 10 rebounds, but it was the 5-foot-6 Costelo who made the game’s biggest shot as the Stags moved ahead, 88-87, and ultimately pinned a second loss on the Knights.
In a frenetic finish, the two teams exchanged leads in the final minute with Kevin Racal giving Letran its last taste of the lead at 87-86, time down to 16.9 seconds, to set the stage for Costelo’s heroics. Calisaan split his free throws with a second left, before Rey Nambatac missed a potential game-winning triple at the buzzer.
“I know we had it last game, and we proved it tonight,” said coach Rodney Santos of the two team’s first-round game, where Letran beat San Sebastian, 82-76.
“My battlecry was 43 turnovers, 42 turnover points: Never again.”
The result paved the way for a tie at the top after a shorthanded San Beda squad, drawing big games from Art Dela Cruz and Amiel Soberano, dumped Emilio Aguinaldo College, 96-84.
Both the Lions and Knights now hold 8-2 records, while the Stags improved to 3-7. The Generals fell to last place after dropping to 2-8.
Stepping up in the absence of the suspended Ola Adeogun, Dela Cruz finished with a career-best 30 points that went with 10 rebounds and five assists just a day after he was picked ninth by Blackwater in the PBA Draft. Soberano provided the spark off the bench with 20 points.
SAN BEDA 96—Dela Cruz 30, Soberano 20 Sara 14,Tankoua 11, Mocon 5, Koga 4, Solera 4, Sedillo 4, Cabanag 2, Tongco 2, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0.
EAC 84—Munsayac 20, Hamadou 18, Diego 14, Mejos 12, Pascua 8, Onwubere 6, Bonleon 3, Morada 3, Estacio 0.
Quarters: 14-16, 44-35, 70-60, 96-84
SAN SEBASTIAN 89—Calisaan 27, Ortuoste 19, Guinto 15, Costelo 13, Fabian 7, Bulanadi 7, Sibal 1, Bragais 0, Santos 0, Pretta 0, Vera 0, Capobres 0.
LETRAN 87—Cruz 30, Nambatac 12, Racal 12, Sollano 9, Quinto 8, Luib 5, Balanza 4, Balagasay 4, Apreku 2, Calvo 1.
Quarters: 15-22, 39-41, 63-62, 89-87
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