INJURIES were just too much for San Sebastian when the Golden Stags lost to defending champion San Beda 63-84 on Monday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Stags were left short-handed with the absence of leading scorer Jamil Ortuoste, out with a sprained left ankle and fellow standout rookie CJ Perez, who is recovering from a bout with dengue.
Stags coach Topex Robinson rued their chances for the next coming games with Ortuoste’s absence and Perez being out of game shape.
“(They’re) really huge,” Robinson said. “Those are the two guys we really depend on, offense-wise.”
Ortuoste leads the Stags in scoring with 16.4 points and is the second-best playmaker with 3.9 assists, Backing him up is Perez, who norms 14.8 points and 4.5 assists per game.
Perez was recently released from the hospital after being confined for almost a week and it told. Normally a do-it-all forward, he registered six boards and five assists, but was limited to four points on 1-of-8 shooting. He also committed four turnovers in 25 minutes.
Adding insult to injury, even Stags skipper Jovit dela Cruz sustained cramps during the game that hastened their downfall.
Without Ortuoste, expected to be out for at least two weeks, the Stags, with a 78.3 scoring average in their first seven games, produced their second-lowest offensive output of the season.
“We really need to work extra hard on defense because we know that pagdating sa opensa, we’re gonna have a hard time," said Robinson.
Even with a 4-4 win-loss record that puts his team in fifth place, the San Sebastian coach still likes his team’s Final Four prospects heading into the second round.
“We’re in a good situation, but we cannot depend on others teams losing," said Robinson.