This appears in the Thursday September 1, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror.
San Sebastian runs Arellano to the ground for 11th straight win
by rick olivares
photo by nonoy lacza
photo by nonoy lacza
The San Sebastian Golden Stags shook off the an early bout with boredom before running the hapless Arellano University Chiefs off the court with a 97-70 win to remain undefeated at 11-0 in the NCAA.
For Stags’ head coach Michael Christopher “Topex” Robinson, the challenges were keeping his team focused on their current unbeaten run, trying to find ways to curb the San Sebastian Stags’ boredom, and preparing for the Chiefs who he thought would be more dangerous as they were without head coach Leo Isaac.
Against the erstwhile 3-7 Chiefs who were led by Junjie Ablan with Isaac being in the United States on a scouting mission, the Stags, undefeated at 10-0, looked bored at the start of the game. With Arellano rookie Michael Doligon scoring on a daring drives and Calvin Abueva committing one turnover after another, Robinson sent in 6’6” rookie center Michael Miranda to break the monotony.
Miranda pulled down a couple of defensive boards and his intensity inside had the Stags off and running.
After one half of basketball, the score was at 42-23 in favor of San Sebastian. Of the Stags’ 42 points, eight came from jump shots and six from the free throw line. Robinson’s boys pounded the Chiefs into submission on a variety of lay-ups, tip-ins, put backs, spin moves, the whole arsenal. They scored 25 fastbreak and 15 turnover points.
And the Stags’ bench which had looked shaky and unreliable early in the tournament, was more confident in its ability to contribute following their win over San Beda to close out the first round. “How can you not notice a Miranda, a (Dexter) Maiquez, and a (Jovit) dela Cruz? These games are not just about our Big Three of Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual, and Ian Sangalang. It’s an honor for them (the bench) to step up,” glowed Robinson on his reserves chipping in 38 big points.
The Stags posted its largest lead of 33 points after Abueva hit two free throws after a foul by Arellano’s Vergel Zulueta. They shot an incredible 51% from the field underscoring the strength of their inside game. The Stags also won the battle of the boards with a whopping 48-29 difference. San Sebastian also issued 22 assists to the 15 of Arellano.
Despite his four turnovers to start the game, Abueva, who returned in the second quarter tallied 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists. Sangalang led the Stags’ with 24 points while Pascual and point guard Anthony del Rio chipped in 17 and 10 points respectively.
The Chiefs, who fell to 3-8, were led by Andrian Celada and Zulueta who each had 13 points. Jerald Lapuz, recently drafted by PBA Governors’ Cup champion Petron, finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Stags return to action on September 7 against struggling Jose Rizal University while Arellano, with a mathematical yet slim chance of making the Final Four, goes up against the College of Saint Benilde, another team with playoff aspirations of their own, on September 5 at 4pm.