SAN Sebastian’s Jovit dela Cruz fumbled the leather on an open lane to botch a fast-break chance. In another offensive possession, teammate Jamil Ortuoste missed from point-blank range.
Then on the other end, John Tayongtong would make a tough, contested three-pointer for Emilio Aguinaldo College.
That said it all for the hard-luck Golden Stags as the Generals coasted to a 71-56 victory on Monday at The Arena in San Juan to end its first-round campaign in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on a positive note.
The Generals drew significant production from their standouts, while shackling the Golden Stags’ counterparts en route to a breezy win, only their third against six defeats.
The Stags, on the other hand, suffered a fifth successive loss and sixth overall in nine games despite another fine all-around performance from CJ Perez, who registered 18 points, 10 boards, two assists, two steals, and one block.
“But we were able to limit the other three key players,” Generals coach Gerry Esplana said, referring to Brad Guinto, Jovit dela Cruz, and Jamil Ortuoste, who all failed to score in double figures. “Nalagpasan rin namin ang aggressiveness nila.”
John Tayongtong typified the Generals’ aggressiveness as the pass-first point guard sustained his high-scoring run with a team-high 17 points built around three triples, three boards, three assists, and three steals.
One of the senior playmaker's treys came late in the fourth quarter that gave the Generals a 68-54 lead and doused the Generals’ last stand.
Jan Jamon did his damage inside with his outside shooting non-existent to still end up with 16 markers, while Cedric Happi bucked a lingering back injury to post another solid output of 13 points and eight caroms.
EAC 71 – Tayongtong 17, Jamon 16, Happi 13, Arquero 12, Serrano 4, Onwubere 4, Santos 2, Saludo 2, Aguilar 1, King 0, Mejos 0, General 0, Pascual 0
SSC 56 - Perez 18, Dela Cruz 9, Yong 9, Guinto 8, Pretta 5, Ortuoste 3, Balucanag 2, Calisaan 2, Camasura 0, Fabian 0, Costelo 0, Aquino 0, Santos 0, Mercado 0
Quarterscores: 14-15, 33-28, 49-42, 71-56