MANILA, Philippines -- San Sebastian College guard RK Ilagan is ready to be a leader for the Golden Stags as he gears up for his final season in the NCAA.
In Season 95, Ilagan formed a potent 1-2 punch with Allyn Bulanadi, and together the two helped San Sebastian claim the fourth seed in the semifinals. Ilagan averaged 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 32.2% from beyond the arc.
In the stepladder against Colegio de San Juan de Letran, he exploded for a career-best 36 points, but the Stags faltered and lost 85-80.
With Bulanadi and Alvin Capobres having graduated, Ilagan said he and JM Calma are determined to step up for San Sebastian and embrace their roles as leaders.
"Kami pong dalawa nag-uusap na magtulungan po kaming dalawa to lead 'yung team namin, kasi 'yun nga, medyo bata 'yung team namin ngayon," Ilagan said during an appearance on "The Prospects" podcast.
Ilagan hopes to follow the example that Bulanadi and Capobres set for them in the previous season. Bulanadi, in particular, set the standard for the Golden Stags with his hard work, as the versatile forward led the league in scoring with 20 points per game.
Bulanadi has since been drafted by the Alaska Aces in the "special round" of the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft, and loaned to the Gilas Pilipinas program. Capobres was picked in the third round by the Magnolia Hotshots.
"Kung ano lang po 'yung ginawa nila Allyn noon, kung paano kami nila ni-lead noong graduating sila, ganoon lang po 'yung gagawin namin," Ilagan said.
"At kung kaya po naming higitan, sabi po namin sa sarili namin, gawin natin para sa team, para sa community," he added. "Kasi matagal na pong hindi nagcha-champion 'yung team namin eh."
San Sebastian has not won the NCAA crown since 2009, when a team led by Jimbo Aquino and Calvin Abueva, and coached by Ato Agustin, dethroned San Beda University.
The NCAA's 96th season will start in early 2021, with only four sports -- basketball, volleyball, athletics and swimming -- to be contested.
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