SAN SEBASTIAN’s Big Three are running like a well-oiled machine, but that doesn’t seem to satisfy their coach.
Topex Robinson wants to involve more players when his Stags go up against Lyceum on Monday at the resumption of the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Stags, who have won their last three games after losing to Letran in the opener, face the Pirates at 4 p.m. before the surprising Perpetual Help squad try to stay on top when they tackle Jose Rizal University at 6 o’clock.
“We want to improve as a group and not just rely on three players,” said Robinson, a second-year coach.
Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual and Ian Sangalang sparkled in the Stags’ 101-78 win over the Bombers last week that dealt the latter their first loss in four games in the season.
Pascual shone brightest among the three as the Mexico, Pamanga hotshot fired 26 points, including four triples, and seven rebounds.
Abueva was spectacular as he recorded his 18th straight double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds on top of seven assists, three steals, and two blocks, while Ian Sangalang delivered significant numbers as well with 19 points, 10 boards, four blocks, and three steals.
What Robinson would like to see is added production from the Stags’ starting backcourt of Jovit dela Cruz and Lyle Antipuesto.
Their Lyceum counterparts, Chris Cayabyab and Shane Ko, are expected to give them a run for their money.
Efficient small forward Rich Guevarra will also be crucial to the Pirates’ cause as the squad hopes to recover from a one-sided 52-83 loss to Arellano last week.
Earl Thompson, meanwhile, will lead the attack for the Altas, who are trying to break free from a tie for first place with defending champion San Beda at 4-1.
The sophomore swingman was an assist short of a triple-double, recording 16 points, 11 boards, nine assists, including five steals, in the Altas’ 84-64 drubbing of College of St. Benilde last Thursday.
The Bombers will continue to lean on the red-hot Nate Matute, the league’s leading scorer with an average of 25.5 points per game.
In juniors’ play, the San Sebastian Staglets take on the Lyceum Junior Pirates at 12 p.m., while the JRU Light Bombers face the Perpetual Altalettes at 2 o’clock.