NCAA: Ex-Stags downplay big games against San Sebastian

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2019 07:11 PM

NCAA: Ex-Stags downplay big games against San Sebastian 1
Renzo Navarro (30, seen in this file photo) was one of two former San Sebastian players who played well against their former team. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- A pair of former San Sebastian College players haunted their former team on Tuesday, when the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates rallied for an 80-69 triumph over the Golden Stags in their first meeting in the NCAA Season 95 tournament.

Jayson David and Renzo Navarro, who left San Sebastian right before Season 94, were instrumental in bringing the Pirates back from a 13-point first half deficit, and shone in the huge fourth quarter that eventually pushed Lyceum to victory.

Navarro and David nailed back-to-back three-pointers that sparked a 16-2 run in the fourth frame, giving the Pirates a 74-66 lead with 2:37 to play. Navarro finished with 11 points, while David had 10 markers and 6 rebounds.

"I really admire these two players," said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson, who stressed that neither David nor Navarro were out to make a statement against their Stags or their former coach, Egay Macaraya.

"Yes they came from San Sebastian two years ago and they're gonna play their first game against their former team," he explained. "But it's not about Jayson and Renzo against San Sebastian. It's about LPU coming out against San Sebastian."

While Navarro acknowledged that there is some "extra motivation" for him, he also made it clear that he simply wanted to enjoy the game -- and he did, especially as he played against several of his former teammates.

"Hindi naman ako naglaro ako kanina para may patunayan sa kanila or what. Gusto ko lang mag-enjoy talaga, kasi parang nasa practice lang kami kanina," said Navarro, who played in De La Salle University for two years before returning to San Sebastian. "Ilang years ko rin kasama 'yung mga 'yan."

David shared a similar sentiment. "Wala, in-enjoy ko lang 'yung game. Pakiramdam ko kasi parang nasa scrimmage lang ako sa Baste," he said.

Navarro and David are just two of several former San Sebastian players who found their way to Lyceum.

The most famous -- and most accomplished -- is of course CJ Perez, who spent two years in San Sebastian before transferring to the Ateneo de Manila University. He did not play a single UAAP game for Ateneo, instead going to Lyceum where he won an MVP trophy and lead the Pirates to back-to-back finals appearances.

Other former Stags in Lyceum's line-up include Rhanzelle Yong, Spencer Pretta, Jeff Santos, and Nino Ibanez. Robinson himself coached the Golden Stags in 2011 before taking over the Lyceum program in 2014.

"We have everybody supporting each other," Robinson said of his team. "Renzo's been struggling a bit, and then he just showed his character. We're just so blessed to have Renzo on the Pirates' side, so same goes with Jayson."

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