San Sebastian nails opening win as Perpetual, Benilde survive late rallies
MANILA, Philippines – NCAA Final Four contenders San Sebastian, Perpetual Help, and St. Benilde kicked off the season with their first wins in an action-packed triple header on Tuesday, July 9, at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
After missing out on last year's playoffs, the San Sebastian Golden Stags outclassed Jose Rizal University from start to finish en route to a methodical 82-51 win.
RK Ilagan and Alvin Capobres led the offensive juggernaut with 25 points off 5 triples and 16 points, respectively, to live up to their billing as early season favorites.
"We are very flattered palagi kaming nasasama doon sa Final Four ng media and na-challenge naman 'yung mga bata with that expectation," head coach Egay Macaraya said.
(We are very flattered that we're billed as a Final Four favorite and the players challenge themselves with that.)
Macaraya also decided to give injured star Allyn Bulanadi a cameo towards the end, finishing with 7 points in only two minutes of play.
The new-look Heavy Bombers, made up mostly of rookies and sophomores, had no players in double digits and committed 25 costly turnovers.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the Perpetual Help Altas banked on a clutch performance from graduating playmaker Edgar Charcos in the final canto to keep Mapua at bay and get a thrilling 80-78 decision.
Down by as much as 11 in the first half, the Altas rallied back to lead by a point at the end of the 3rd quarter.
It then became a nip-and-tuck affair until Charcos, who also tallied 8 boards and 5 assists, scored 8 unanswered points to break a 69-all deadlock.
Stags' Laurenz Victoria sank a 3 with 8 seconds left to cut their deficit to one and make things interesting but Charcos came up big once again as he calmly sank 1-of-2 free throws.
Tonton Peralta topscored for the Altas with 20 points while the Cardinals relied on young guns Warren Bonifacio and Cyril Gonzales who contributed 15 points and 14 points apiece.
For the day's opening game, the College of Saint Benilde held off a late surge from the Emilio Aguinaldo College to come out victorious, 69-66.
The Blazers controlled the game from the get-go, establishing a 17-point lead at some point, but letting the Generals come back into the game through a 17-2 run late in the 4th, at the back of JP Maguliano's 18-point and 14-rebound double-double.
CSB then clamped down on defense to make sure Justin Gutang's own double-double of 17 points and 12 boards did not go to waste and thwart EAC's impressive rally.
Despite missing Cameroonian reinforcement Clement Leutcheu, the Taft-based squad got much-needed output from Jimboy Pasturan who finished with 19 points as well.
Benilde 69 – Pasturan 19, Gutang 17, Naboa 7, Lepalam 7, Carlos 5, Dixon 4, Nayve 3, Flores 3, Belgica 2, Sangco 2, Young 0.
EAC 66 – Maguliano 18, Mendoza 16, Luciano 8, Taywan 6, Tampoc 6, Gonzales 4, Gurtiza 4, Estacio 4, Martin 0, Carlos 0, Corilla 0, Cadua 0, Dayrit 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarters: 17-12, 37-23, 57-44, 69-66.
Perpetual 80 – Peralta 20, Charcos 16, Razon 10, Egan 9, Aurin 9, Adamos 8, Guissani 2, Lanoy 2, Cuevas 2, Barasi 2, Lucero 0, Martel 0.
Mapua 78 – Bonifacio 15, Gonzales 14, Garcia 9, Nieles 8, Victorai 6, Salenga 6, Serrano 5, Hernandez 4, Lugo 4, Bunag 3, Aguirre 2, Jabel 2, Gamboa 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 21-22, 39-45, 64-63, 80-78.
San Sebastian 82 – Ilagan 25, Capobres 16, Bulanadi 7, Villapando 6, Desoyo 6, Altamirano 6, Calma 5, Calahat 4, Tero 3, Are 2, Loristo 2, Sumoda 0, Dela Cruz 0.
JRU 51 – Dionisio 8, Steinl 8, Jungco 7, Dela Virgen 6, Aguilar 4, Delos Santos 4, Dela Rosa 3, Borbon 3, Miranda 2, Amores 2, Vasquez 2, Abaoag 2, Arenal 0, Dulalia 0.
Quarters: 14-8, 35-22, 61-40, 82-51.
– Ferdin Sanchez/Rappler.com
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