AS soon as the post-game press conference was through, Jamil Ortuoste didn’t bother going back immediately to San Sebastian’s dugout and instead, just grabbed the first cup he saw to drink water from the dispenser inside the press room of The Arena in San Juan.
The star rookie guard was obviously exhausted from the Golden Stags’ 54-49 victory over Arellano on Monday night that gained for them solo fourth spot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
“Sobra,” Ortuoste said when asked by Spin.ph how exhausted he was after the gruelling, low-scoring encounter. “(Pero) ang gaan ng feeling kasi ang daming nag-step up.”
Ortuoste registered 11 points, but had plenty of help from his teammates, especially second-stringer Ranimark Tano, who shone in the absence of starting center Bradwyn Guinto.
The 6-foot-6 Tano registered a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards that went with three blocks in 31 minutes as he started in place of Guinto, who was confined in the hospital two days ago due to fever.
Fellow backup Mark Trinidad also delivered in the clutch, scoring all his three points on a trip to the free-throw line that gave the Stags the lead for good.
“I’m glad they stepped up and we made the breaks along the way,” Stags coach Topex Robinson said. “We’re gonna take this win no matter how ugly it is.”
The Stags thus notched a sixth victory in 11 games, while dealing the Chiefs their second straight loss and eighth overall against three wins.
Prince Caperal led the Chiefs with 15 points, 16 boards, and three blocks in a solid effort that all went for naught.
The Chiefs last held the lead at 44-43 after a short stab by Nico Bangga, before the Stags broke out of a see-saw affair, sparked by Trinidad’s three charities.
San Sebastian (54) - Ortuoste 11, Tano 11, Perez 9, Dela Cruz 8, De Vera 6, Balucanag 4, Trinidad 3, Gusi 2, Rebollos 0, Aquino 0, Magno 0.
Arellano (49) - Caperal 15, Forrester 13, Agovida 6, Hernandez 6, Gumaru 3, Bangga 2, Pinto 2, Salcedo 1, Jalalon 1, Nicholls 0, Serjue 0, Cadavis 0.
Quarterscores: 15-9; 25-22; 38-38; 54-49.