MANILA, Philippines – Defending champions San Sebastian Stags fought their way out of an 11-point deficit against Jose Rizal University (JRU) to post a hard fought 64-59 win over the Heavy Bombers in the 86th NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday.
The Stags held the Bombers to just 4 points in the fourth quarter to make up for a lackluster performance in the third where JRU had them trailing, 55-44.
Despite nursing an ankle injury, Calvin Abueva gave a superb performance with double-double figures. He scored 13 points and hauled down a total of 18 rebounds from both ends of the floor aside from dishing out 2 assists.
“Sabi nga ni coach, sipag ka lang… basta't makatulong ka sa team. Nagsisipag naman ako para makabawi sa game na last na injured ako,” Abueva said in the post-game interview.
San Sebastian trailed JRU by 2 points at the half, 24-22.
However, the Heavy Bombers widened the gap in the third quarter by limiting the Stags’ scoring output to just 12 points.
What made matters worse for San Sebastian in the third canto was JRU’s 21-point blitz, which placed the scores at 55-44.
Stags then came out with an 8-2 run on a couple of triples from Jonathan Semira and Ronald Pascual, plus a put back by Abueva at the onset of the fourth quarter. The rally cut the Bombers’ lead to 5, 52-57.
San Sebastian followed this with a 9-2 rally, taking advantage of JRU’s offensive meltdown.
The last time the Bombers scored in the 4th quarter was at the 7:06 mark when Joe Etame made a basket off an assist.
The Stags won their 10th win in 11 games. The Bombers fell to 8-3.
Red Lions win 11th straight
In the first game, undefeated San Beda College defeated Perpetual Help, 92-61.
The Red Lions overpowered winless Altas (0-10) with Sudan Daniel leading the charge and using his defensive prowess.
The American behemoth finished with a triple-double on 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 blocks.