With its head coach suspended, its top gun fouling out, and its opponent pushing forth a furious fightback, San Sebastian College-Recoletos dug deep, stood strong, and ultimately bounced back in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Golden Stags lost a lead of as much as 17 and had six players fouling out, but still had more than enough to put away age-old rival Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 102-101, in an overtime classic, Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
RK Ilagan topped the scoring column with 22 points for Baste which was sans head coach Egay Macaraya as he served a one-game suspension. "Mas gustom yung mga batang manalo e," acting coach Melo Banua said post-game.
Ilagan himself was no longer available for his side, however, in the last four minutes of regulation where he witnessed the Knights rallying to force overtime.
In the extra period, the two teams were still going at it before Larry Muyang continued his powerful performance and pounded in another inside basket to put Letran on top, 101-100, with 48.3 ticks to go.
After they traded defensive stops, though, Allyn Bulanadi found Kenneth Villapando down low for what proved to be the game-winning short stab for San Sebastian.
There remained time for the Knights to steal the win, but Fran Yu's triple try only hit front rim.
Villapando's game-winner and that last defensive stop finally allowed the final buzzer to sound in a game that went on for two hours and a half and featured a total of 74 fouls and 95 free throws. "Sabi namin, dun na tayo sa beterano, stick tayo sa game plan. Buti, nag-step up naman sila Allyn at Ken," coach Melo said.
In the end, Bulanadi had 21 points and four rebounds while Alvin Capobres had 19 markers of his own. Villapando also added six points, half coming in the last minute of overtime, to go along with seven rebounds.
Overcoming all odds, the Golden Stags returned to their winning ways now at 3-3.
It also didn't hurt them that they came into the contest well-rested as the last game they played before this one was on July 30. From there, three of their assignments were postponed due to inclement weather.
On the other hand, Muyang's career game of 32 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals went to waste as Letran suffered a second straight setback to drop down to 5-3 in the standings.
SAN SEBASTIAN 102 - Ilagan 22, Bulanadi 21, Capobres 19, Calahat 9, Dela Cruz 9, Calma 7, Villapando 6, Desoyo 4, Cosari 3, Tero 2, Altamirano 0, Sumoda 0, Loristo 0
LETRAN 101 - Muyang 32, Balanza 21, Yu 13, Caralipio 9, Batiller 7, Ular 6, Olivario 5, Reyson 4, Ambohot 3, Javillonar 1, Mina 0, Sangalang 0, Guarino 0
QUARTER SCORES: 28-18, 46-36, 69-64, 91-91, 102-101 (OT)
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