SAN Sebastian coach Rodney Santos admitted fatigue played a role in the Stags’ loss to Mapua in their NCAA Season 91 debut on Thursday.
Santos said he was forced to play his veterans extended minutes during the pressure situation with the Stags clinging to an 86-79 lead with less than three minutes left.
The Stags eventually lost the lead - and the match, 86-88 - following the Cardinals’ 9-0 finish kick.
“Players ko fatigued na. Masyado silang napagod,” said Santos, who had five players suiting up for at least 24 minutes with Bradwyn Guinto only resting for three minutes.
Skipper Jamil Ortouste led the way for the Stags with 21 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in 34 minutes of play for the Stags, but he couldn't save the team in the end.
While he understands that most of his players are still very young, Santos said his second stringers must step up for the Stags to do well this season.
“They are all first timers eh kaya I decided to stick with my starters. Kailangang mag-mature sila. Siyempre bata pa sila,” said Santos.
Despite the defeat, Santos praised the play of the Stags who he said were not intimidated by the presence of Mapua center Allwell Oraeme, who swatted away five San Sebastian shots.
“Hats off ako sa kanila na they gave their all. Kahit pagod na pagod, they played their hearts out,” said Santos.
“Hindi sila natakot. Kung makikita niyo, daming supalpal ng Mapua. Sabi ko sa kanila, kahit ma-block kayo, so be it,” said Santos.