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Giant Killers: San Sebastian takes another shocker


The San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags are proving to be the giant slayers in the NCAA.

After defeating the Perpetual Altas and the San Beda Red Lions in huge upsets, the All-Filipino Golden Stags shocked the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals, 69-67, for its third straight win Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Ryan Costelo led the Stags, dropping 20 markers on 7-of-11 shooting, against the hard-nosed Cardinal defense while also dishing out seven dimes. Michael Calisaan also played his finest game of the season, notching a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Even with these numbers, it was a total team effort by San Sebastian on both ends that helped continue their rampage in the second round of the tournament.

“They didn’t give up and the heart to win, nakikita natin na gusto nila manalo,” San Sebastian head coach Egay Macaraya said. “Good thing is the character is building up and natututo na kami manalo.”

Down by as much as 18 points in the first half, the duo of Costelo and Calisaan provided the spark they needed while, on the other end, limited the Cardinals to just eight third quarter points to gain the lead 50-46 entering the final frame.

Mapua was able to claw its way back to the lead led by the unlikely tandem of Andrew Estrella and Laurenz Victoria. As the game heated up late, so did the emotions on the floor.

After a loose ball scrum, Andrew Estrella and rookie Alfren Gayosa got into a fiery argument that led to the two student-athletes being assessed with a technical foul. However, this was Estrella’s fifth foul of the game that resulted to his expulsion.

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Baskets by CJ Isit and a jumper by Darell Menina coming off a Costelo turnover led to Mapua gaining a five-point edge, 64-59, with 2:21 remaining.

In a quick spurt, Calisaan and Costelo once again willed their team back with timely baskets to cut the lead to just a solitary point.

Young San Sebastian center Justine Mercado was overpowered in the paint by Allwell Oraeme that resulted to the latter grabbing a foul. Oraeme though missed both of his charities that led to a huge triple by RK Ilagan, his second triple of the game, to give Baste the lead with 48 ticks left. A basket by Allyn Bulanadi coming from a Victoria turnover extended the lead to four, 68-64.

Menina, just as he has always done this season, called for an isolation play then knocked down a contested three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Ilagan with 28 seconds remaining. A split on the stripe by Costelo with 17.6 second left gave Mapua a chance to hijack the game. However, it was not meant to be as Oraeme committed a costly turnover.

Playing the foul game, Menina immediately fouled Alvin Capobres, who was not able to make both of his charities. The Cardinals though failed box out with three seconds remaining as Michael Calma secured the rebound as time expired.

“Nag-payoff na yung hardwork ng players. Ang sarap sa feeling,” Macaraya beamed. “The will to win and the defense. Lahat sila are happy to play defense.”

Reigning NCAA MVP Oraeme grabbed his usual double-double with 16 points and 21 rebounds. However, he shot a horrid 5-of-14 from the field. Menina added 12 points but King Cardinal CJ Isit was not usual self, shooting just 20 percent from the field for just six points. Moreover, Isit committed five costly errors in the game.

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San Sebastian committed a total of 31 fouls in the game but Mapua failed to convert on charities, going just 18-of-36 from the stripe. Oraeme was 6-of-14 from the foul line while Isit missed seven of his nine attempts.

The San Sebastian Golden Stags (4-9) continue its quest on Tuesday, August 30 as it faces the Lyceum Pirates at 12:00nn. The Cardinals (7-5) look to return to its winning ways on Thursday, September 1. However, they have a tough task in front of them, facing the San Beda Red Lions at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

SSC-R (69) – Costelo 20, Calisaan 15, Ilagan 12, Bulanadi 8, Capobres 4, Gayosa 3, Mercado 3, Fabian 2, Calma 2, Baetiong 0, David 0, Johnson 0, Quipse 0, Sera Josef 0, Valdez 0.

MIT (67) – Oraeme 16, Menina 12, Estrella 9, Victoria 9, Isit 6, Raflores 6, Bunag 4, Eriobu 4, Serrano 1, Biteng 0, Orquina 0.

Quarterscores: 8-25, 27-38, 50-46, 69-67.

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