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    SSC Stags outlast Letran Knights to clinch No. 4 spot, advance to stepladder playoff vs JRU

    Oct 24, 2017
    Allyn Bulanadi and the Stags survive a tough match against the Knights. Dante Peralta

    SAN Sebastian entered the NCAA Season 93 semifinals in the most dramatic fashion, outlasting a gritty Letran side, 74-69, on Tuesday in a knockout match at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Michael Calisaan showed that he's made for the big stage as he set a new career high 36 points to go with 10 rebounds to tow the Stags to their first semifinal appearance since 2013.

    He capped a great performance by hitting a dagger three pointer from the top of the arc to give the Stags a 74-69 lead with 18 seconds to go that knocked the life out of the Knights.

    Before Calisaan's three, Ryan Costelo scored nine of the Stags' last 11 points including a floater with 44 seconds to go to give the Stags the lead for good, 71-69.

    San Sebastian faces Jose Rizal University on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena as the semifinals stepladder starts for the right to face unbeaten Lyceum in the best-of-three finals.

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    “No. 1, deserving ang mga bata. Especially sa nilalaro nila ngayon. I think we deserve to be in the Final Four,” said San Sebastian head coach Egay Macaraya, who celebrated his 56th birthday with a big victory.

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    “Hindi natanggal ang puso nila. Ang character and desire to win na makapasok sa Final Four. They deserve it right now,” he added.

    Costelo was the only other San Sebastian player in double digits as he scored 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting in just 15 minutes of action.

    The Knights’ season ended in a heartbreak after taking control of the game despite a relatively quiet night from Rey Nambatac.

    Letran still had the lead but failed to make a field goal in the final 3:04 despite plenty of good looks from Jerrick Balanza, Jeremiah Taladua and Jeo Ambohot from downtown.

    Taladua was Letran’s surprise gunner, scoring 16 points, making four of six shots from beyond the arc.

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    Bong Quinto had 15 points and 11 rebounds and seven assists as JP Calvo finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

    Nambatac’s collegiate career with Letran ended with a quiet night of 11 points on just five shots, two assists and five turnovers while in foul trouble for much of the game.

    The scores:

    San Sebastian 74 – Calisaan 36, Costelo 13, Ilagan 6, Navarro 6, Valdez 4, David 3, Gayosa 3, Bulanadi 2, Baetiong 1, Calma 0, Capobres 0, Mercado 0

    Letran 69 – Taladua 16, Quinto 15, Calvo 11, Nambatac 11, Vacaro 8, Ambohot 3, Balanza 3, Balagasay 2, Mandreza 0, Gedaria 0

    Quarterscores: 18-16; 32-30; 53-54; 74-69.

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    Allyn Bulanadi and the Stags survive a tough match against the Knights. Dante Peralta
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