SAN SEBASTIAN'S Big Three put on another virtuoso performance as the Stags survived Lyceum’s gritty stand, 87-79, on Monday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual and Ian Sangalang stuffed the stats sheet as the Stags won their fourth straight game and grabbed a share of the lead with a 4-1 win-loss mark.
Abueva recorded his second triple double of the season with 16 points, 23 rebounds, and 10 assists on top of four blocks despite playing with colds and a headache.
Pascual, for his part, buried eight triples on his way to a league season-high 32 points.
Sangalang posted splendid numbers as well with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with 16 boards.
Despite those remarkable numbers, the Stags were held to a close game by the gritty Pirates and only put a safe gap between them near the end.
Trailing by five entering the fourth, the Pirates mounted a run and surprisingly established a 73-69 lead after a Mark Francisco jumper with a little over six minutes remaining.
The red-hot Pascual , however, drilled three consecutive three-pointers in the ensuing possessions to help the Stags regain the lead and secure the victory.
“I really expected Lyceum to stand its ground,” Stags coach Topex Robinson said.
Robinson had stressed his team’s need to involve more players in their attack, but had to rely on his Big Three heavily again against the Pirates, who just would not budge.
“I couldn’t gamble to take them out,” Robinson said.
What made the underdogs Pirates’ stand more incredible was that they were without versatile forward Rich Guevarra, who was suspended for picking up two unsportsmanlike fouls in their game against Arellano last time out.
Chris Cayabyab and Shane Ko tallied 20 points apiece to lead Lyceum, which dropped to the cellar with a 2-5 slate.
SAN SEBASTIAN 87 – Pascual 32, Sangalang 20, Abueva 16, Dela Cruz 7, Antipuesto 3, Binuya 3, Juico 2, Maiquez 2, Miranda 1, Balucanag 1, Rebollos 0, Vitug 0
LYCEUM 79 – Cayabyab 20, Ko 20, Zamora 11, Francisco 8, Mallari 6, Ambohot 5, Martinez 5, Azores 2, Laude 2, Garcia 0, Edding 0, Pascual 0
Quarterscores: 26-19, 42-37, 62-57, 87-79