NCAA 95: Staglets frustrate Jr. Pirates to force rubber match

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 05, 2019 03:19 PM
NCAA: Staglets frustrate Jr. Pirates to force rubber match
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

San Sebastian College-Recoletos has only made the most of its good fortune in the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

Blessed with the third-seed at the end of the elimination round, the Staglets sent a statement that they are far from finished with a convincing 84-75 victory versus second-seed and twice-to-beat Lyceum of the Philippines University, Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome.

Baste got contributions from up and down its lineup with Milo Janao showing the way, as always, with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists as well as Nikko Aguilar who had 15 markers of his own. "Isa lang sinasabi ko sa kanila kanina, this is the game of your life. Basta mag-enjoy lang kami sa game na 'to kasi wala namang pressure sa amin," head coach Melo Banua said.

Seldom-used Jossel Barroga and Kim Bulasa also brought big boosts with the former finishing with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double and the latter ending with 10 markers, eight boards, and four assists.

That total team effort was just what they needed to discard the Jr. Pirates' playoff privilege.

That total team effort was also just what they needed to give back to lady luck. "Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam nito kasi sabi ko nga, destiny na natin 'to. Kailangan nang i-grab natin," Coach Melo said.

He then continued, "Wala na tayong chance tapos binigyan pa tayo ng chance ng Panginoon. Kailangan pa nating i-grab talaga 'to."

San Sebastian almost found itself outside the playoff picture, dropping its last assignment in the elimination round.

Fortunately for them, however, so did College of St. Benilde-La Salle Green Hills and Arellano High School - and as such, there was a three-way logjam for the third- and fourth-seeds.

Due to having the highest quotient among the three teams, the Staglets ascended into the third-seed and avoided a knockout bout for the fourth-seed.

Now, they are one win away from an improbable trip to the Finals. "One game at a time lang. Who knows? Baka ibigay pa rin sa amin yung panalo," their mentor said.

Still, that's easier said than done against LPU which still features two of the tournament's top players in John Barba and Mac Guadana who had 24 and 12 points, respectively, in this one.

Barba and Guadana are certain to go all-out in their do-or-die game on Friday still at the same venue for their school's first-ever Final Four win and first-ever Finals appearance.


SAN SEBASTIAN 84 - Janao 15, Aguilar 15, Barroga 12, Bulasa 10, Perez 7, Darbin 7, Brizo 7, Are 5, Concha 4, Una 2, Lustina 0.

LPU 75 - Barba 24, Guadana 12, Omandac 9, Montano 8, Garro 6, Santos 6, Gamlanga 3, Caringal 3, Garing 2, Caduyac 2, Panganiban 0, Dumon 0, Ragasa 0, Gudmalin 0, Dejelo 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 18-13, 42-33, 64-46, 85-74.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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