MANILA, Philippines - Calvin Abueva capped a record elims performance with another double-double job as San Sebastian bucked Ronald Pascual’s early ouster to beat San Beda, 69-55, last night and clinch the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of the 88th NCAA men's basketball tournament at the packed Arena in San Juan City.
With Pascual tossed out in the first quarter after a disqualifying foul on Rome dela Rosa, Abueva took over but saved his best in the last quarter when he single-handedly carried the Stags to their 13th win against five losses for the No. 2 seeding and the coveted incentive in the playoffs.
He finished with game-highs 23 points and 16 rebounds while dishing out three assists and making two blocks and a steal.
The 2011 MVP buried three triples in a key stretch of the contest then highlighted his superb performance with a slam at the end of the game.
Abueva thus became the first player in the league to ever lead in scoring, rebounding and assists after the double round elimination round with league best averages of 20.1 points, 16.4 boards and 6.4 assists in 17 games.
San Sebastian will take on Letran, which finished at No. 3 with a 12-6 (win-loss) mark, on Saturday also at The Arena, needing just a win to advance to the finals.
Despite the loss, San Beda still finished on top with a 15-3 record and will face off with the winner of Thursday's playoff for No. 4 between Perpetual Help and Jose Rizal.
But the Stags may play without Pascual in the Final Four since his disqualification foul merits at least an automatic one-game suspension.
SSC coach Allan Trinidad, however, blasted the officials for poor officiating and hinted at filing an appeal to reduce the disqualifying foul to just a regular flagrant foul.
"I was telling the refs to just let us play and not take away the spotlight because the players should be the stars of the game not the referees," said Trinidad. "We will definitely file an appeal."
Ian Sangalang also played true to form with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while back-up big man Dexter Maiquez had a career-high of 13 points and 10 boards while shackling San Beda's Nigerian center Ola Adeogun on the other end. Adeogun struggled for just five points and six rebounds.
"That's the game plan, to prevent them from getting that ball to Adeogun and I think we succeeded on it," said Trinidad.
San Sebastian thus swept San Beda in the elims as the Stags also beat the defending champions, 80-71, in their first round encounter last Aug. 13.
San Beda 69 – Abueva 23, Sangalang 19, Maiquez 13, Sangalang 19, Maiquez 13, Juico 6, Gusi 5, Dela Cruz 3, Rebullos 0, Vitug 0, Miranda 0, Antipuesto 0, Pascual 0
San Beda 55 – Dela Rosa 12, Lim 11, Caram 7, K. Pascual 6, J. Pascual 6, Adeogun 5, Dela Cruz 4, Amer 4, Mendoza 0, Ludovice 0, Koga 0
Quarterscores: 9-7; 30-22; 43-41; 69-55