Rodney Santos counting on playmakers Ortuoste, Costelo to get struggling Stags back on track
Ryan Costelo and the Stags have only a win to show in five matches. Jerome Ascano

RODNEY Santos is hoping for more consistency from his playmakers, noting that limiting turnovers should get them back on track after a sluggish start in NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball tournament.

The new Stags coach is counting on Jamil Ortuoste and Ryan Costelo to play smart and keep the offense steady as they look to end a two-game slide on Friday when they take on the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals at The Arena in San Juan.

“You just have to figure out how to minimize the turnovers kasi those are costing our game. You have to mature and we’re still in the race kasi lahat naman dikit dikit sa baba,” Santos said, noting that despite a 1-4 win-loss card, they are tied for seventh in the 10-team leaderboard.

The Stags committed 24 turnovers compared to 11 by the Arellano Chiefs, who forced them to take hurried shots and handed them their second straight loss.

[See Red-hot Arellano Chiefs trounce SSC Stags for fourth straight win in NCAA]

“As you can see, lahat ng nakakalaban namin, they don’t want us to set our offense that’s why they’re pressing us,” Santos said.

“Sabi ko yung mga masasabi nating point guards, leaders sa loob. You have to keep the poise.”

“Hindi pedeng kayo natataranta dyan dahil kayo ang leader, kayo ang nagdadala ng bola. You should know when to pass, who to pass.”

He also called on the bench players to contribute more and help lighten the load on Bradwyn Guinto, Michael Calisaan, and Jon Ortuoste.

“Sabi ko nga sa bench player ko, pag pinasok ko kayo, you also have to do your job kasi hindi pedeng yung lima lang palagi kasi mapapagod naman sila. So kailangan kong lumalim yung bench talaga. So I trusted them pag pinasok ko sila, wag nilang sirain yung trust na yun kasi mahirap ibalik.”

“Manalo na sila sa ibang team, wag sa amin. We’re here to win this coming game sa EAC and paghahandaan pa rin namin yun. Walang mahinang team. We just have to be ready.”

Santos is hoping to finish the round firmly sitting in at least the middle of the standings, noting that their next three assignments would be crucial.

“Crucial yung next three games namin, EAC, Benilde, and Lyceum. Para sa akin, we need to beat those three teams. Matapos ang first round ng 4-5 kami, we’re good.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @ReaStevens