SAN SEBASTIAN tries to sustain its blistering run minus one of its Big Three as it guns for the solo lead against Mapua on Monday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Ian Sangalang is out with a strained left knee and the Stags target their seventh straight win opposite the Cardinals in their 6 p.m. encounter.
The Stags scraped past Emilio Aguinaldo College, 94-93, last Monday to improve its win-loss record to 6-1 behind Calvin Abueva’s all-around performance of 29 points, 18 boards and seven assists.
But the Stags showed how vulnerable they are without Sangalang as they almost wasted a 17-point third–quarter lead and let the Generals’ Cameroonian import Cedric Happi Noube dominate the paint with 26 points, 14 boards, and three blocks.
“We have to find a way to compensate for Ian’s loss,” Stags coach Topex Robinson said.
But with Abueva and Ronald Pascual leading the attack, the Stags are still favored against the slumping Cardinals, who have lost four straight games. Pascual had 21 points, including five triples, on top of seven caroms and four assists against the Generals.
The Cardinals, who sport a 2-5 mark, still can’t seem to take advantage of a formidable lineup led by last year’s top freshman Josan Nimes, prized rookie Gab Banal, and veteran Mike Parala.
In the first game, Perpetual Help hopes to back up its tag as the league dark horse as it faces Arellano University at 4 o’clock.
The Altas, in fourth place with a 6-2 slate, stunned the Generals last time in an amazing come-from-behind 72-71 triumph that added to their collection of statement games this season.
Jet Vidal was at the forefront of the Altas’ comeback from 11 points down in the last two minutes against the Generals as the spitfire swingman drained three treys, including the game-winning basket.
Against the Chiefs, Altas coach Aric del Rosario is wary of another shooter, Filipino-Canadian James Forrester.
“Napanood ko siya pero nakita ko na saan ang weakness niya,” Del Rosario said.
The Chiefs try to bounce back from a 70-91 loss to the Stags and improve their 2-5 record.