ONLY two of its “big three” came up with huge numbers but that proved enough for San Sebastian to overpower Arellano University, 91-70, on Saturday night in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
Despite Ronald Pascual having a sub-par game, Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva helped the Stags maintain a double-digit cushion against the Chiefs.
The Stags cruised to their fifth straight victory against a lone loss, while the Chiefs suffered their fifth loss in seven games.
“It’s still a long season. Now is not the time to be complacent and think we’re unbeatable,” said Stags coach Topex Robinson.
After taking a backseat to Abueva and Pascual in the previous games, Sangalang shone brightest this time for the Stags, collecting 27 points, 17 rebounds, and three steals.
Abueva also provided huge numbers with 22 points, 16 boards, and three assists for San Sebastian.
Pascual, who had a season-high 32 points versus Lyceum, had a cold night against the Chiefs and scored just nine points in 34 minutes.
After they established a 25-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Stags kept pounding the hapless Chiefs and slowly pulled away as they extended the gap to 14 at the half, 18 after three quarters, and 21 after the final buzzer.
“We just wanted to start strong and dictate the tempo,” Robinson said. “We focused on a per-quarter basis.”
The Stags’ dominance was evident all over the stat sheet as they outrebounded the Chiefs, 61-39, and had more assists, 20-7.
Freshman Nard Pinto paced the Chiefs with 18 points and four boards.
SAN SEBASTIAN 91 – Sangalang 27, Abueva 22, Dela Cruz 10, Pascual 9, Binuya 8, Juico 6, Maiquez 4, Antipuesto 3, Balucanag 2, Miranda 0, Rebollos 0, Dones 0.
ARELLANO 70 – Pinto 18, Acidre 14, Caperal 9, Hernandez 7, Forrester 7, Zulueta 4, Bangga 4, Cadavis 3, Salcedo 2, Espiras 2, Lunas 0.
Quarterscores: 25-17; 43-29; 65-47; 91-70.