MANILA, Philippines - San Sebastian went to Calvin Abueva and Ronald Pascual in the absence of Ian Sangalang as it edged Emilio Aguinaldo, 94-93, for the solo lead in a game delayed by two hours due to a broken ring in yesterday’s 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Abueva, the reigning MVP, exploded with a season-high 29 points spiked with 18 rebounds and seven assists while Pascual scattered 21 points, including five triples, as they propelled the Stags to their sixth straight win in seven outings for the solo lead.
But the Stags had to weather the Generals’ rally after the latter came charging back from 14 points down in the fourth to close to within two points.
But the Generals rushed their bid from the three-point range instead of going for high-percentage shots, missing a couple of triples, paving the way for the Stags’ escape act.
The superb efforts by Abueva and Pascual, who are both PBA-bound, made up for the absence of the 6-6 Sangalang, who is out with a strained left knee and is slated for a MRI today due to suspected MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury he sustained during practice last week.
“We can do away with Calvin and Ronald but Ian’s spot is really hard to fill,” said San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson, referring to Sangalang, who he said will be out for two weeks.
The Generals, who were led by Cameroonian Noube Happi with 26 points and 14 caroms, fell to their seventh straight defeat against a triumph.
The San Sebastian-EAC seniors game was delayed for almost two hours as arena personnel rushed to fix the ring fronting the Generals’ bench that was broken as a result of monster dunks by Abueva during pre-game warm-ups.
Earlier, San Sebastian Staglets smothered EAC, 95-52, to grab the upperhand in the high school division with an unblemished 7-0 (win-loss) slate.
St. Benilde edged Jose Rizal, 72-65, to nail its fourth win against three defeats.
In another juniors encounter, Rey Nambatac came three rebounds shy of recording the league’s first ever quadruple-double feat as he powered Letran to a 100-53 thrashing of Arellano U.
The 18-year-old Nambatac, a vital cog in Energen Pilipinas’ title sweep of the SEABA Under-18 Championship in Singapore last month, had 30 points, 11 steals and 10 assists for the season’s first-triple double performance in the high school division. Nambatac finished with seven rebounds. - By Joey Villar