|John Pinto of Arellano University gets cornered by San Sebastian players. Photo by Antonio Peñaredondo for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual came through when their team needed it most as a Calvin Abueva-less San Sebastian survived a pesky Arellano U, 79-71, to seize solo second place in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City on Thursday.
Sangalang came through with game-highs 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks while Pascual was all over the court with 18 points, nine boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks that made up for a game worst nine turnovers as the Stags moved to No. 2 with a 9-3 (win-loss) slate.
San Sebastian is now just half a game behind reigning champion San Beda (9-2) while Arellano U absorbed a big blow to its Final Four hopes after suffering its eighth defeat against four triumphs.
And the Stags did it in the absence of Abueva, who served out his one-game suspension he incurred for a disqualifying foul he committed against Lyceum’s Vence Laude in their last game.
The suspension disqualified Abueva from receiving any individual awards including what could’ve been his second MVP plum.
Sangalang, who is now leading the MVP race with Abueva out of the equation, and Pascual shone the brightest by combining for 10 fourth quarter points, all coming in a decisive run in the stretch when San Sebastian shattered a 63-all deadlock.
“It’s hard adjusting without Calvin Abueva but I’m very thankful that we did,” said Alllan Trinidad, who has won his second straight game since he took over as San Sebastian’s interim coach following the resignation of Topex Robinson last week, in Filipino.
First Game (srs)
San Sebastian 69- Sangalang 22, Pascual 18, Juico 9, Miranda 9, Maiquez 8, Dela Cruz 7, Gusi 6, Binuya 0, Balucanag 0, Antipuesto 0
Arellano U 71- Hernandez 21, Forrester 13, Pinto 10, Zulueta 8, Caperal 8, Cadavis 4, Acidre 4, Salcedo 2, Bangga 1
Quarterscores: 24-25; 41-35; 63-57; 79-71