Commitment to defense, never-give-up spirit sparked Stags turnaround, says coach Macaraya
Coach Egay Macaraya is pleased with the character and resolve the Stags are showing in the second round. Dante Peralta

SAN Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya was pleased to see his wards finally showing an unflinching will to win and their renewed commitment to defense that sparked their turnaround in the second round of the Season 92 NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

The Stags registered their third straight victory with s a rousing 69-67 win over Mapua on Friday where they had to claw back from a 25-8 hole in the opening quarter.

"What can I say? First, they didn't give up. Second, there's the heart. Nakikita naman natin na gusto talaga nila manalo," said Macaraya, whose team improved to a 4-9 win-loss record while dealing the Cardinals their fifth loss in 12 outings.

"Everybody is stepping up. Sarap ng feeling," he added. "Lahat sila ngayon, they're very happy to play defense. I know good things will happen if we focus on playing defense."

Macaraya is hopeful the Stags can continue their climb from the bottom half of the standings, but he won’t give his young team added pressure to keep the streak going as he’s just glad to see the character and resolve they’re already showing.

"Hopefully ma-sustain namin kasi medyo mahirap rin. Hopefully hindi ma-pressure yung bata kong team," he said.

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