SAN Sebastian dodged an endgame collapse this time, hacking out a 72-63 victory over hapless Mapua on Saturday to solidify its hold of fourth spot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Similar to their first-round encounter, the Golden Stags squandered a huge lead but showed steely nerves in the stretch to score their seventh win in 12 games.
“Muntikan na naman, pero we sustained our mental toughness this time,” Stags coach Topex Robinson said.
The Stags thus added to the sorrow of the lowly Cardinals, who dropped a 10th straight game and 11th overall against a lone victory to stay in the cellar.
CJ Perez shone brightest for the Stags, tallying 19 points, including seven in the payoff period that helped San Sebastian build a cushion good enough to weather a late stand by the Cardinals.
The 19-year-old rookie added 11 boards, four assists, and one steal to complete a solid, all-around effort.