In their first round encounter, the San Sebastian College-Recoletos and the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights figured in a close game. The result was a come-from-behind win by the Knights.
Their second round was another nailbiting encounter. However, the result was different as Michael Calisaan led the Recto-based squad in an upset win over the league-leading Letran Knights, 89-87, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
The first half was close all throughout. After a first quarter that saw the league-leaders gain a seven-point edge, the Stags fought back to cut the lead to just two points, 41-39, before halftime.
The starting five of the Stags, led by the twin towers of Bradwyn Guinto and Michael Calisaan, scored 31 of the team’s 39 first half points. The Knight, however, shot excellent from the field, in shooting at 53%. The Murallo-based squad were paced by pro-bound Kevin Racal’s six points and five rebounds and three-point king Mark Cruz’s seven points.
The Knights and the Stags were tied in the rebounding department with 27 rebounds. San Sebastian was able to keep close due to their free throws as they attempted 22 and converted on 15.
The two squads exchanged leads at the middle of the third quarter. Calisaan paced his team in scoring 17 points in the quarter, including 11 of his team’s last 13 points. With the Stags leading 60-55 with 2:01 remaining, Cruz connected on back-to-back three pointers to tie the game at 61. Free throws by the pint-sized point guard with 34.5 seconds remaining cut the Letran deficit to just one, 63-62, to enter the final quarter.
Letran was able to breakaway with 7:30 remaining. Rey Nambatac led a 15-3 rally in scoring eight points to give the Knights a 77-66 lead. After a timeout by coach Rodney Santos, the Stags went small with Calisaan playing the center spot. Moreover, their defense switched to a box-one that contained Mark Cruz. The Stags then went on a blistering 17-3 run to retake the lead at 83-80 with 1:28 to go. The two teams then went on another gear in exchanging the lead. Kevin Racal was able to gain the lead for the Knights’after a putback with 17 seconds to go. Ryan Costelo then hoisted a high-arching layup with 9.4 ticks remaining to gain an 88-87 lead. Letran head coach Aldin Ayo had no other recourse but to call his last timeout. However, Mark Cruz fumbled the ball that resulted to a turnover. Calisaan was then fouled but converted on just his first free throw, the latter resulting to a lane violation. A desperation heave from near halfcourt by Nambatac missed as the Stags were finally able to stave the Knights away 89-87.
“Minotivate ko sila in saying: we had it last game,” a jubilant Rodney Santos said after the game. “Di lang talaga maiwasan yung lapses [during that game].”
“Bilib ako sa kanila, they never give up,” he proudly declared. Even in going down by double-digits with seven minutes to go, the team continued to play hard defense, a move emphasized by Santos during the one-week break.
San Sebastian was led by Calisaan’s 27 huge points on 10/15 shooting and ten rebounds. Fellow big man and Smart Elite ambassador Bradwyn Guinto added 15 points and 15 rebounds. The backcourt of Ortouste and Costelo also combined for 32 points.
On the other hand, the Knights were led by the 30 big markers of Mark Cruz. Cruz converted on four shots from downtown and was able to steal the ball five times. Smart Elite ambassador Rey Nambatac struggled all game long in scoring just 12 points on 5/15 shooting.
As a team, the Stags shot an outstanding 50% from the field compared to just 39% by the Knights. San Sebastian was also able to convert on six more free throws.
The SSC-R Golden Stags (3-7) will next face the LPU Pirates on Friday, August 28 at 2:00pm while the Letran Knights (8-2) look to bounce back against the EAC Generals (2-8) on the same day at 4:00pm.
SSC-R (89) – Calisaan 27, Ortuoste 19, Guinto 15, Costelo 13, Fabian 7, Bulanadi 7, Sibal 1, Bragais 0, Santos 0, Pretta 0, Vera 0, Capobres 0.
CSJL (87) – Cruz 30, Nambatac 12, Racal 12, Sollano 9, Quinto 8, Luib 5, Balanza 4, Balagasay 4, Apreku 2, Calvo 1.
Quarterscores: 15-22, 39-41, 63-62, 89-87.
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