Time and time again, the team that works harder gets the added edge over any opponent at any given time.
In the hunt for their first win of their NCAA Season 91 campaign, the San Sebastian Golden Stags finally barged into the winning column after scrapping a hard-fought comeback win against the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers in overtime, 91-89, last Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Bradwyn Guinto paced the Golden Stags with a double-double feat of 17 points and 20 rebounds to go along with 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. His defense and timely stops was also responsible in containing JRU’s Abdulrazak Abdulwahab and Abdel Poutouchi.
The two opposing JRU big men scored a combined 12 points on 50% shooting, 20 rebounds, and 2 assists.
“Ang bigat [nila] and they’re big but it’s a good challenge kaya I’m always willing to step up for the team,” Guinto told reporters after the game.
In addition, Ryan Costelo followed up Guinto’s performance by chalking up 15 points, including the go-ahead layup that forced extra time, to go along with 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
“Ang last play binigay sa akin ni coach kaya hindi ko pwedeng alisin iyong tiwala na binigay sa akin ni Coach Rodney,” Costelo told Tiebreaker Times when asked about his game-tying layup late in regulation. “Siguro dahil dito tumaas na kumpiyansa ko kaya mataas na rin ang confidence. Sana malagpasan din namin ang performance namin sa next games.”
Unlike in their previous game against the Mapua Cardinals, San Sebastian head coach Rodney Santos decided to dig deeper into his bench this time to keep his main guns fresh.
In their opening game against Mapua, the starters for the Golden Stags averaged a whopping 31 minutes while majority of the majority of the bench played just in five-minute spurts.
“Kung mapapansin niyo halos lahat nagamit ko na kasi I’ve learned from my mistakes noong last game. Ngayon siguro nakapag-pahinga sila kaya maganda laro nila sa end game,” Santos said.
The Stags also mixed up things defensively this time in order for them to produce mismatches and keep JRU’s offense guessing. In the game, the Stags deployed different defensive schemes like a zone defense, fullcourt and halfcourt traps, man to man and many more.
“This is a start of something good. I know that a [single] win is nothing in this league pero for me, as a new coach, masaya na ako kasi may isang panalo na ako,” Santos shared. “Iyon ang pinapanalangin ko, give me one win and from there, tingnan natin kung ano ang mangyayari.”
“Sabi ko sa mga bata na wala tayong makakalaban na mahina at wala tayong makakalaban na walang import. You have to rely on their talents and their teammates. Sabi ko nga sa kanila sa halftime na don’t rely on yourself because you have to play for your school and you have to play for your teammates.”
Facing bigger challenges
With momentum gained in their first win of the season, San Sebastian will now face a daunting task as they are set to take on the streaking and still undefeated University of Perpetual Help Altas this coming Friday, 12 noon, at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
“We’re coming from a win tapos malakas ang kalaban namin. Lahat ng kalaban namin palakas ng palakas,” Santos quipped. “Lahat ng teams may malakas na import at locals, you just have to treat the teams equally.”