MANILA, Philippines—RK Ilagan established himself as the NCAA's top gunner in San Sebastian's first two games of NCAA Season 95, wherein he averaged 22.5 points per game for the Golden Stags.
He started off the season by torching Jose Rizal University for 25 points in an 82-51 rout, then scored 20 points in the Stags' 92-68 triumph over the Mapua Cardinals.
Against Lyceum on Tuesday, however, Ilagan found himself cuffed and held scoreless.
Shadowed by a variety of defenders led by Jayvee Marcelino, Ilagan took just four field goals, missing all of them. He did not attempt a single free throw, and while he had five assists, they were not enough to keep San Sebastian from absorbing an 80-69 loss.
Even Lyceum coach Topex Robinson did not expect that they would shut down Ilagan so thoroughly.
"We know how important RK is to the Stags, and actually I told them we cannot really zero him but we could at least limit his production," Robinson said after their triumph, which gave the Pirates a 3-1 win-loss record.
"He was scoring in the 20s for the past two games," he pointed out.
All credit went to his players, said Robinson, for perfectly executing the scheme they had against the sweet-shooting Ilagan who was making 36% of his triples entering the game.
"Again, that's totally how this team really works as a group. We really work hard making sure that everybody is connected, and knowing his strength," he explained.
"So again, credit goes to the players, they really did their jobs, their assignments."
Ilagan, meanwhile, acknowledged that Lyceum was well-prepared for him and that he failed to make the necessary adjustments.
"Dapat always ready ako," he said, as quoted by Matthew Li of Tiebreaker Times. "'Yun 'yung mali ko."
Ilagan's scoring average dipped to 15.0 points per game following his scoreless outing.
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