MANILA -- The San Sebastian College Stags eked out a hard-earned 85-81 win over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup.
San Sebastian led by 16, 55-39, after an Allyn Bulanadi layup at the 6:11 mark of the third period. But the Growling Tigers launched a furious rally anchored behind back-to-back triples by Sherwin Concepcion to come within a point, 57-56, by third period’s end.
In the final frame, both sides waged a war of attrition as they exchanged baskets and leads.
With time down to less than a minute and the score tied at 78-all, Stags point guard RK Ilagan found rookie Rommel Calahat cutting down the baseline and the bounce pass was perfect for an unmolested lay-up, 80-78.
UST came out of a timeout with Brent Paraiso drilling an open triple off a pass by Mark Nonoy for an 81-80 lead, time down to 38 ticks. After a fumble by San Sebastian on the offensive end, an Ilagan foul sent Tigers rookie Jade Talampas to the line where he missed both free throws.
Ilagan corralled the loose ball and was bumped by Talampas. Ilagan hit both shots to give the lead back to San Sebastian, 82-81 with 23 seconds left.
After a UST miss, Ilagan trooped once more to the line where he hit two more free throws, 84-81.
In UST’s final offensive, Nonoy drove hard and Stags forward Kenneth Villapando stepped into his path. Nonoy missed his shot and San Sebastian forward center JM Calma grabbed the rebound and passed to Ilagan who was once more fouled.
An incensed UST head coach Aldin Ayo decried the non-call as Ilagan split his free throws for the final count, 85-81.
“You decided the game,” Ayo yelled out to the referee.
Ilagan top scored for the match with 28 points, while JM Calma added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Allyn Bulanadi scored 15.
For UST, Rhenze Abando led his team with 21 points. Nonoy added 18, Sherwin Concepcion poured in 16 including four triples, and Paraiso finished with 12.
“It was a tough game, but the boys really wanted it,” San Sebastian head coach Edgar Macaraya said of his wards. “But that play with Nonoy, it isn’t a foul if the referees didn’t call a foul. We just have to play on. But UST is really good.”
San Sebastian climbed to 2-0, while UST succumbed to their third defeat in four outings.
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