MANILA -- For a young team in the middle of a rebuild, San Sebastian College has been overachieving this offseason.
With veteran Ichie Altamirano and holdovers like Romel Calahat and Jesse Sumoda showing the way, the Golden Stags have established themselves as a no-nonsense unit, very much to coach Egay Macaraya's liking.
"We just continue to work and work. Sipag lang ang puhunan ang mga bata at unti-unti, natututunan nila 'yung gusto naming gawin para sa team," he said.
San Sebastian can take another step in its buildup as it seeks to punch the last quarterfinals ticket in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Saturday.
The Golden Stags, holding a 3-3 card, face winless Jose Rizal University (0-6) at 3 p.m. with a chance to book the final playoff spot in Group B.
A loss, however, complicates a lot of things for San Sebastian as it would need a confluence of events for it to still make it to the bracket's top four in the tourney.
Colegio de San Juan de Letran (3-3) will be looking to inflict top-seed De La Salle University (6-0) its first loss at 5 p.m. in a do-or-die situation. The Knights will need a victory while rooting for a Golden Stags loss to move to as high as No. 3 in Group B.
San Beda University (2-4) will also be a curious observer after it faces Group B's No. 2-seed Lyceum of the Philippines University (5-1) at 1 p.m. The Red Lions are in dire need of a win while also hoping for Letran and San Sebastian's downfall to gain the superior quotient in the event of a triple-tie and snag the No. 4 seed.
Also-ran teams University of Perpetual Help (2-5) and Arellano University (1-6) face off at 9 a.m., followed by the clash between Emilio Aguinaldo College (3-4) and Mapua University (0-7) at 11 a.m. to finish off their elimination schedules.