SAN Sebastian finally snapped out of a losing spell in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, dispatching Lyceum, 82-66, on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
Playing with the spunk that had been missing for more than two months, the Golden Stags zoomed to an early lead and never looked back to grab the convincing victory that broke a 10-game skid.
CJ Perez spearheaded the attack, doing his damage early for the Stags, who registered only their fourth victory in 15 games and dealt the Pirates their 10th loss against six wins.
“Wooh!” a relieved Stags coach Topex Robinson blurted out in the post-game conference. “This losing streak has taught us a lot…and has been a tough nut to crack. I’m just happy they responded.”
“Actually, I was telling them we’re not here to win, so they were surprised,” he added. “Because if you’re going to look at the whole pie, baka masyadong mabigat para sa kanila, so I just told them to work on the little things.”
As a result, the already eliminated Stags played pressure in a no-bearing game and banked Perez, who fired 20 of his 25 points in the first half, where his team established a 17-point cushion.
The gap widened to 24, 71-47, after a Rhanzelle Yong twinner late in the third quarter, where Perez was held scoreless, which hardly mattered.
The do-it-all forward shot just 6 of 19 from the field, but tallied nine boards and two steals.
Bradwyn Guinto churned out another solid performance, tallying 18 points and 13 boards on top of one assist and one block.
SSC 82 – Perez 25, Guinto 18, Ortuoste 10, Yong 8, Balucanag 5, Dela Cruz 4, Camasura 3, Pretta 3, Fabian 3, Mercado 2, Aquino 1, Calisaan 0, Costelo 0, Santos 0
LPU 66 – Bulawan 13, Zamora 11, Mbida 11, Taladua 8, Baltazar 6, Elmejrab 5, Maconocido 5, Gabayni 4, Malabanan 2, Lesmoras 1, Pamulaklakin 0, Soliman 0
Quarterscores: 24-16, 53-36, 71-49, 82-66