SAN Sebastian flashed its old fiery form and pummeled erstwhile unbeaten Jose Rizal University, 101-78, in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.
Ronald Pascual registered a team-high 26 points and eight rebounds for the Stags, who stretched their winning streak to three and tied the Bombers and University of Perpetual Help Altas on top of the standings with identical 3-1 (win-loss) marks.
Calvin Abueva added 25 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and two blocks, while Ian Sangalang contributed 19 points, 10 boards, four blocks, and three steals as the Stags showed how potent they can be when their `Big Three’ are on the same page.
But Stags coach Topex Robinson stressed San Sebastian’s need to improve as a team and not merely rely on its three star players.
“If we play as individuals, it’s not going to work to our advantage,” he said.
After winning their first three games, the Bombers came in confident about their chances against the Stags. But San Sebastian readily shut the door on them as it jumpstarted to a 27-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Eleven of the Stags’ points in the opening period came from Pascual, the Mexico, Pampanga hotshot who seemed to have fully recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered last year.
The Stags sustained their hot start and never let up as they finished the game behind a blistering 59 percent shooting from the floor and had the edge in rebounding, 45-30, and fastbreak points, 29-2.
“We know JRU will only beat us if they outwork us,” Robinson said.
The win avenged the Stags’ loss to the Bombers in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup.
Nate Matute continued his torrid shooting with a game-high 27 points, including five triples, but had little help from the rest of the Bombers.
SAN SEBASTIAN (101) -- Pascual 26, Abueva 25, Sangalang 19, Miranda 10, Dela Cruz 6, Binuya 5, Juico 4, Balucanag 4, Vitug 2, Antipuesto 0, Maiquez 0
JOSE RIZAL (78) -- Matute 27, Villarias 14, Lopez 12, Mabulac 6, Monserat 6, Almario 6, Camasura 4, Diapera 0, Salaveria 0, Porter 0, Munez 0, Maconocido 0, Dela Paz 0, Carampil 0
Quarterscores: 27-19, 51-31, 74-50, 101-78