SAN Sebastian had an answer for every Jose Rizal University full-court press as it hacked out a 71-62 victory on Monday to solidify its hold of the fourth and last Final Four spot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Golden Stags came into the game with a press break in place which they executed with aplomb as they put themselves in a better position of advancing to the next round with a ninth victory in 15 games.
The triumph also removed from the playoff picture College of St. Benilde and Lyceum, both tied in eighth place with a 5-10 win-loss mark.
The Stags drew motivation from their 68-72 loss to defending champion San Beda last Monday when they squandered a double-digit lead.
“The game against San Beda made us a better team,” said Stags coach Topex Robinson, whose wards also dimmed the semifinal hopes of JRU, which slid to a 6-9 card overall.
CJ Perez underscored his status as Calvin Abueva’s heir apparent, tallying 23 points, nine boards, and two assists to spearhead the Stags, who led from start to finish and never let the Stags come closer than eight points in the payoff period.
The Stags came to within eight twice, the last at 54-62 after a Gio Lasquety contested layup with two minutes to go.
Philip Paniamogan waxed hot in the third quarter where he fired all his team-high 15 points, but failed to get ample support from his teammates.
Michael Mabulac, the Bombers’ most consistent double-digit scorer, could only come up with four points this time, although he added 12 boards.
San Sebastian (71) – Perez 23, Guinto 11, Dela Cruz 10, De Vera 7, Ortuoste 7, Tano 5, Rebollos 4, Vergara 2, Trinidad 2, Balucanag 0, Gusi 0, Aquino 0
JRU (62) – Paniamogan 15, Dela Paz 12, Lasquety 10, Pontejos 8, Sanchez 7, Benavides 4, Mabulac 4, Abanto 2, Salaveria 0
Quarterscores: 12-7, 38-21, 53-38, 71-62