By JUSTIN VALENCIA
SAN Sebastian boosted its playoff chances, hacking out a 74-69 victory against also-ran Mapua Thursday in the NCAA Season 95 juniors basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Golden Staglets banked on a 7-0 finishing kick to overturn a 69-67 deficit in the final 1:33 to force a tie for fourth place at 9-7 with CSB-La Salle Greenhills.
Dylan Darbin's three-point play put San Sebastian ahead, 79-69, before the boys of coach Melo Banua made crisp execution in the endgame, with Josel Barroga completing an alley-oop play and free throws from Randolph Perez putting the final nail in the coffin.
"Isa lang sinabi ko sa kanila heading into the fourth quarter, kung matalo tayo mawawala na yung pangarap natin na Final Four," said Banua.
San Sebastian outscored Mapua in the fourth quarter, 21-9 to take the win.
Rafael Are led the Golden Staglets with 17 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting, to go with five rebounds and five assists, while Perez chalked up 12 points and six rebounds.
Barroga finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards, to go with his three blocks, an effort which Banua highly appreciated.
"Good game kay Barroga, I give credit to him, yung puso nandoon," he said.
Jonnel Policarpio had 16 points on a measly 6-of-21 clip and 16 boards as the defending champion Mapua slipped to 4-12.
SAN SEBASTIAN 74 -- Are 17, Perez 12, Barroga 10, Darbin 8, Aguilar 6, Concha 5, Lustina 5, Janao 4, Una 4, Bulasa 3, Brizo 0.
MAPUA 69 -- Policarpio 16, Castor 14, Fransman 11, Parial 10, Galang 5, Jugo 4, Tadeo 4, Parinas 3, Buenaflor 2, Lugo 0, Ejercito 0.
Quarters: 14-20, 33-39, 53-60, 74-69.