SAN Sebastian stayed in the hunt in the NCAA Season 95 juniors basketball tournament, forcing a decider with Lyceum after an 84-75 victory in their Final Four clash on Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome.
"Isa lang sinasabi ko sa kanila kanina: this is the game of your life. Just focus dun sa ginawa natin sa practice which is defense talaga. Basta mag-enjoy lang kami sa game na to kasi wala namang pressure," said coach Melo Banua.
Nikko Aguilar scored nine of his 15 points in the Golden Staglets' 22-point third quarter pullaway before Milo Janao followed suit, firing nine of his 15 points in the payoff period to run away with the victory.
Janao also grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists for San Sebastian, which led by 20 points, 81-61, with four minutes left in the game.
Lyceum refused to fold, with Joshua Garing putting it within eight, 81-73 with 49.2 seconds left.
Rafael Are, however, dashed those hopes with a big steal on John Barba before nailing the game-icing charities with 28.2 ticks left that brought the lead back up to 10 points, 83-73.
Josel Barroga also stepped up for the Golden Staglets with 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, while Kim Bulasa got 10 points, eight boards and four assists.
"Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam," said Banua. "Sabi ko nga, destiny natin ito at kailangan i-grab natin. Wala na tayong chance tapos binigyan pa tayo ng chance ng Panginoon, kailangan na nating i-grab talaga to. Nandito na kami eh."
San Sebastian and Lyceum mix it up anew on Friday, with the winner facing San Beda in the best-of-three championship series.
"Isang game lang, one game at a time," remarked Banua. "Who knows, baka ibigay pa rin sa atin yung panalo."
Barba, the MVP frontrunner, fired 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Junior Pirates, while Mac Guadana was held to just 12 points on a 4-of-16 shooting, to go with three boards and three assists.
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.
Lyceum 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.
Quarterscores: 18-13; 42-33; 64-46; 85-74.