SAN Sebastian shrugged off the absence of Calvin Abueva to beat Arellano, 79-71, on Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the San Juan Arena.
With the pro-bound Abueva serving a one-game suspension for his unsportsmanlike foul in their game against Lyceum the last time, Ian Sangalang stepped up anew and delivered another solid 40-minute performance to lead the Stags to their ninth win in 12 games.
The 6-foot-6 Sangalang finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, and four assists in 40 minutes for the Stags, who moved to solo second place behind defending champion San Beda.
Ronald Pascual had flu symptoms but lived up to his promise of coming up with a better performance as the sweet-shooting forward tallied 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with nine boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks.
But his rejuvenated play, although a huge improvement from his last two outings when he shot a paltry 4-of-33 from the field, didn’t satisfy his coach.
“Actually nakukulangan pa ako sa kanya,” Stags interim coach Allan Trinidad said of Pascual, who committed nine turnovers.
Trinidad, however, underscored Sangalang’s importance to the team. “Wala akong pwedeng ipalit sa kanya eh,” Trinidad said.
The Stags established their biggest lead at 61-45 after a bucket by Michael Miranda, who started in place of Abueva, late in the third.
The Stags then scored eight unanswered points, capped by a Pascual triple to virtually ice the game.
The Chiefs dropped to 4-8 overall.
SSC 79 – Sangalang 22, Pascual 18, Miranda 9, Juico 9, Maiquez 8, Dela Cruz 7, Gusi 6, Antipuesto 0, Binuya 0, Balucanag 0
AU 71 – Hernandez 21, Forrester 13, Pinto 10, Zulueta 8, Caperal 8, Cadavis 4, Acidre 4, Salcedo 2, Bangga 1
Quarterscores: 24-25, 41-35, 63-57, 79-71