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Sans Gabayni, Lyceum hangs on to survive San Sebastian fightback



Taking part in a losing end of a furious fourth quarter run, the Lyceum Pirates survive a late-game scare by the San Sebastian Golden Stags and score a 71-67 win at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City, Friday afternoon.

The Pirates were without Joseph Gabayni in the game as he was not suited up by the management of Lyceum in this game. Good passing led to four early inside baskets for the Pirates while also defending the fast offense on the other end by the Golden Stags. Lyceum’s defense so limited their opponents to only a point, four minutes into the match prior to their first field goal by Ryan Costelo. Despite another three-ball sank in by San Sebastian, interior passing led to a 13-7 lead by LPU with a basket by Jesper Ayaay.

Victor Nduidjol manned the paint on the defensive end to that led to his team’s first double-digit advantage nearing the end of the first. They eventually end the first ten minutes limiting SSCR with only single digits in scoring.

Contrary to the slow start to the game, a fiery shooting to the second quarter chopped the lead quickly in favor of the Stags. Jayson David completed a fastbreak play plus a foul to cap an 8-0 start and make it a close game. Aside from scoring, San Sebastian also adjusted defensive-wise as they closed out well on the shooters of Lyceum.

However, the Stags once again got their offense from the inside as Nguidjol anchored an 9-0 run to reinstall a baker’s dozen lead at 32-19. In addition, they increased their run by forcing the Stags to only two points in the last minutes of the first half. By halftime, no player from the San Sebastian roster scored more than 4 points.

Turnovers halted chances to pile up the points for San Sebastian as Lyceum was able to answer the baskets put up by the stags to maintain the double-digit separation of the latter. SSCR would then break the 10-point barrier with a minute left in the third with a triple by Jess Sibal to make it a 55-47 game.

Within 90 seconds, the ten point lead was sliced into half with a triple by Jamil Ortuestre and a drive by Ryan Costelo. Suddenly, the serious rampage was extended as they Costelo’s fast break lay in gave his team for the first time at 59-57 with still 6:40 left in the game. A 16-0 surge was halted by a triple by Jeremiah Taladua. However, a full swing of momentum aided San Sebastian as a jolt of energy gave them the push to fasten up the pace in their favor by piling up the steals and fastbreak points.

With the reinsertion of Nguidjol, Lyceum barged once again to make a final push to make the game closer. In the last two minutes, Shaq Alaned drained a corner three to make it 68-67 for LPU. After a series of blanks by both teams, Costelo and Ortuestre flunked their own attemps from downtown. LPU, however missed three of their next four free throws that opened up a chance for SSCR. Nguidjol will then tally his fourth block to ice the game for the win.

“I know that San Sebastian had a fight in them,” Lyceum head coach said regarding his old team.

“He is helping us a lot and he’s matured [as a player]. He made a lot of mistakes in the past which made him a better person,” the proud coach said of Victor Nguidjol’s improvement.

Victor Nguidjol had another tremendous outing with 15 points, 17 boards, and four blocks. Mer Ayaay complimented the effort with 16 points and seven rebounds. For the other side, Ryan Costelo led the team with 17 points and was able to dish out eight assists. Smart Elite ambassador Bradwyn Guinto was limited to just eight points and seven rebounds. Moreover, he committed seven turnovers.

The Pirates greatly outrebounded the Stags 53-36 resulting to 15 more second chance points.

The Golden Stags drop to 3-8 while the Pirates improve to 3-7 and have now tasted their first win streak of the season.

Lyceum will next face the Perpetual Altas on Tuesday, September 1 at 4:00pm while San Sebastian will have the Mapua Cardinals on Friday, September 4 at 12:00nn.

The Scores:
LPU (71) – Ayaay 16, Nguidjol 15, Bulawan 10, Soliman 8, Taladua 8, Alanes 6, Baltazar 5, Mbida 3, Sunga 0, Malabanan 0, Lacastesantos 0, Lugo 0.
SSC-R (67) – Costelo 17, Ortuoste 12, Calisaan 10, Guinto 8, Fabian 7, David 6, Pretta 3, Sibal 2, Capobres 2, Santos 0, Bulanadi 0.
Quarterscores: 22-9, 37-21, 57-47, 71-67

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