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Ortuoste leads Golden Stags late against hapless Generals

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“Enjoy the last five games. ‘Yung mga bagay na may control kami, gawin lang namin.”

This was what San Sebastian head coach Rodney Santos told his wards during the pre-game in their matchup against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals and for most of the game, the Golden Stags was flawless in their execution.

Holding a 21-point lead in the third period, the San Sebastian Stags almost lost it in the fourth against the EAC Generals but was able to survive in a 91-77 victory, held at the Filoil Flying V Arena Thursday afternoon.

Both teams had good interior defense to clog the lanes of the bigmen at the start of the game. This opened up two perimeter jumpers for EAC as they also limited the Stags to its first field goal of the match at the 6:14 mark courtesy of Jeick Fabian. Pro-bound Bradwyn Guinto was active in crashing the boards but Hamadou Laminou and off-the-bench Francis Munsayac, who scored an instant eight points during the quarter, pushed the Generals fo a 17-16 lead at the end of one quarter.

The duo of Jon Ortuoste and Ryan Costelo sparked a 10point start for the Stags in the first three minutes to answer Laminou’s paint baskets. Their three point shooting was a key to their high-scoring half as Spencer Pretta inked in five of his own during the quarter alone. San Sebastian had a 39-26 lead in the middle of the quarter but an 8-1 response by the Generals melted the lead. However, Pretta made two corner triples to also pace the 34 bench points they had at the half, in addition to the big lead they established after 20 minutes.

Despite EAC piling up the steals in the early goings to cut lead of the Stags, San Sebastian answered with five straight layups in the middle of the third quarter to extend their lead to 63-42 with 4:36 left. Three straight turnovers, however, helped EAC to claw their way back partially with Sidney Onwubere and Hamadou Laminou still drilling in baskets inside. The Generals had a huge ending to the third as Munsayac punched a three to slice the deficit down to 13 entering the fourth.

Onwubere continued his stellar presence in the second half when he led the 12-5 spurt to open the final period of action as the Stags cooled from the perimeter. Munsayac also contributed big in transition during the stretch as the big lead vanished slowly in favor of EAC. Entering the final four minutes, Laminou made it a one-possession game as he muscled his way to cut the lead, 77-75.

However, Ortuoste anchored the last surge of the game for the Golden Stags as he scored two quick layups in a 8-0 answer. San Sebastian’s defense also tightened late in the game as they limited the Generals to only two points in the last three minutes of the game and had their comeback hopes short.

“Wala naman silang pressure to win the game. Basta gusto ko lang every game, they have a positive attitude,” coach Rodney Santos said on what he wants the mentality his team has in their last five games. “Just enjoy this game. Kung magkamali kayo, huwag kayo tumingin sa akin. Set lang sa depansa, sa opensa kayo na bahala.”

The Golden Stags were led by Jon Oruoste’s 24 markers. He was 10/21 from the field and added six boards, seven dimes, and three steals. Smart Elite ambassador Bradwyn Guinto added a double-double with 11 points and 17 huge boards.

For the cagers from Paco, Smart Elite ambassador Francis Munsayac led the team with 21 points on 50% shooting. He had two rebounds, an assist, and a steal as well. Two players notched double-doubles for EAC with Onwubere having a 16-12 day while Laminou had 20 and 13.

The San Sebastian Stags (4-10) will next face the San Beda Red Lions on Tuesday, September 22 at 2:00pm while the EAC Generals (2-12) have the Perpetual Altas on the same day at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

SSC-R (91) – Ortuoste 24, Pretta 19, Bulanadi 17, Guinto 11, Costelo 7, Fabian 6, Bragais 3, Calisaan 2, Capobres 2, Sibal 0, Alvarez 0, Santos 0

EAC (77) – Munsayac 21, Laminou 20, Onwubere 16, Mejos 8, Pascua 5, Bonleon 4, Diego 3, Pascual 0, General 0, Corilla 0, Estacio 0

Quarters: 16-17, 51-35, 68-55, 91-77

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