COACH Egay Macaraya is glad to have a couple of tireless veterans towing San Sebastian in a long season.
Their elimination schedule of 18 games was extended by one when they needed to play Letran in a playoff, and it wasn’t until the dying moments that the Stags were able to take control. Michael Calisaan and Ryan Costelo led the Stags to the No. 4 spot, making the big shots in the endgame to dispose of the Knights.
“I'm very lucky to have players like that. So sa totoo lang, wala pa talaga kaming pahinga since FilOil. Gusto talaga nila na ’hey, tapusin ang NCAA 93 season sa magandang note.’”
Now the weary Stags hope to pull some more from their reserves as they try to topple well-rested rivals in the stepladder semifinals, starting with third seed Jose Rizal University.
Against the Knights, Calisaan scored 36 points, including a dagger three-pointer, while Costelo scored nine of his 13 markers in the final five minutes.
“These two guys are my veterans so siguro naman pinakita nila sa laro na ito,” the San Sebastian coach.
“Pag crunch time kasi, I need my veteran players, and they proved na kaya nilang dalhin 'yung team,” added Macaraya.
Calisaan actually seemed rejuvenated after the playoff, and is now actually thinking of a title run.
“Kami 'yung pinaka-beterano ni Ryan sa team. Four years na kami magkasama ni Ryan sa college eh, so ngayon lang kami nakapasok ng Final Four. Paano pa pag nag-champion, 'di ba?” he said.
Costelo, for his part, said that he was just leading by example as he knows that his younger teammates look up to him, especially in games as close as the playoff against Letran.
“Noong huling quarter na kasi, dikitan lang 'di ba? So sinabi ko sa mga teammate ko na walang bibitaw hanggang dulo, hanggang makapasok kami talaga sa Final Four,” said Costelo.