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EAC staves off late game collapse to notch first win



The Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals finally notched their first win in the 91st season of the NCAA in staving-off a San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Golden Stags rally in a 77-71 win early Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Paco-based squad started the game relying on Camerooninan student-athlete Laminou Hamadou as the Generals continuously passed the ball in the paint resulting to easy baskets for Laminou. Hamadou scored eight points in the quarter. Moreover, Sidney Onwubere slashed through the paint resulting to layups that gave the Generals an early 9-3 lead. The cold Stags were brought back to life by sweet-shooting big man Michael Calisaan. Calisaan, together with Fil-Australian Bradwyn Guinto, slowly chipped the lead to eventually tie the game to end the quarter 15-all.

The second-stringers of the Generals could not sustain the push of their starters to open the second stanza that gave San Sebastian a small lead, 19-16. Christ Mejos, Mario Bonleon, and Raymond Pascua turned it on in a huge 11-0 rally. After a timeout, foul-plagued guard Ryan Costelo sparked a rally that cut the General lead to just a solitary point. The two teams then went back-and-forth, exchanging leads, but was ended by free throw conversions by John Estacio to give Emilio Aguinaldo a two point-lead to enter the first half, 36-34.

Ortouste and Calisaan teamed up once more to regain the lead for the Stags early in the second half. However, Smart Elite ambassador Francis Munsayac killed the momentum gained by the Stags in converting on back-to-back three pointers. The Generals were able to extend the lead to 49-41 with 4:36 remaining but Jeick Fabian and Pampagueno Jayson David were able to cut the lead to just three near the end of the quarter. A Sidney Onwubere layup ended the quarter with his team still up five points, 55-50.

The Andy de Guzman-mentored squad threw bombs from downtown to extend their lead to a game-high 12 points, 66-54, with 5:34 remaining. Just when everyone thought that the cold-shooting Stags could not make one last push, spitfire guard Jamil Ortuoste converted with bomb after bomb in a 10-2 run all by himself. Bradwyn Guinto followed that up with a putback from an Ortuoste three that cut the lead to just a points 70-69 with 1:50 to go. Generals guard Francis Munsayac found a wideopen Remy Morada, who converted with a corner three pointer, that just beat the shot clock with 1:15 to go. A Laminou putback sealed a five point lead for the Generals as the Stags went cold from the field. The Generals won their first game of the season in a 77-71 win.

Andy de Guzman was relieved to finally get his first NCAA win. Moreover, he said that the win is a good foundation for the rebuilding Generals squad. “We are in the process of building a team. Lahat ng players ko bago,” De Guzman said. He added that the team did not practice last Monday just to review all the bad habits each players has done in their past five games.

The Generals were led by Laminou’S 18 points and 12 boards. Onwubere also grabbed a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. For the other side, Calisaan topscored with 19 points while also grabbing 10 boards. Ortouste complimented the Stags late push with 17 markers on 6/18 shooting.

As a team, both teams shot poorly with the Generals shooting 37% while the Stags shot 35% from the field. However, EAC outrebounded SSC-R 55-44 which lead to a five point difference in second chance points.

The EAC Generals (1-5) next face the CSJL Knights on Friday, August 7 at 2:00pm while the SSC-R Golden Stags (1-5) will have the CSB Blazers as their next assignment on Tuesday, August 4 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
EAC (77) – Hamadou 18, Onwubere 13, Munsayac 12, Pascua 8, Mejos 7, Diego 7, Morado 6, Bonleon 5, Estacio 2, Pascual 0, General 0, Corilla 0.
SSC-R (71) – Calisaan 19, Ortouste 17, Costelo 12, Guinto 12, Fabian 7, David 4, Sibal 0, Bragais 0, Santos 0, Pretta 0, Bulanadi 0, Vera 0, Capobres 0.
Quarterscores: 15-15, 36-34, 55-50, 77-71.