Golden Stags pull-off miracle without main mentor

14 07 2007

LUCKY without coach Gallent. San Sebastian College Golden Stags ,playing without its mentor, showed nerves of steel in the pivotal moments of the ball game, survived the bombardment by the Mapua Cardinals, 66-63, last Friday for its second victory after five games in the 83rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Inspired by their huge crowd at The Arena in San Juan City, the Golden Stags leaned on center Jason Ballesteros and Jim Viray’s scoring tactics to hand the Cardinals their fourth loss in five games.

“It’s good, I’m familiar with our players,” said interim coach Raymond Valenzona, who took care of business for head coach Jorge Gallent – serving a one game suspension. “The players have adjusted well to the system, so I think we can win more games.”

PBL hotshot Jim Viray led the Stags with 17 points on a near perfect 9-of-10 shooting from the free throw area, while Francis Bulawan clicked for 12 points. Jason Ballesteros had nine points, collected 13 rebounds, and had four blocked shots.

Jerby Del Rosario paced Mapua with 15 points, had 13 boards and rejected three Golden Stags attempts. Teree Guillermo also made 15 points, with Sean Co and Jonathan Banal scoring 11 each.

Ballesteros scored 1 of 2 from the free throw area of a Kelvin Dela Peña foul to seize the edge, 64-63, with only 15 seconds left. Sean Co turned the ball over in the ensuing play. Then Viray buried the Cardinals with two free throws to peg the final count.

“I just needed to do the right things for us to win,” said Ballesteros, who lost the ball four times. “I wasted several opportunities and had so many turnovers. I think I made the right move in that sequence.”

The Golden Stags tallied 26-out-of-62 field goals (42%) against the Cardinals’ 23-out-of-66 (35%).

San Sebastian went up by three in several instances – the last one being a Bulawan basket with 1:07 minutes left in the first period to make it 15-12.

It was the Cardinals turn to go full throttle. With a little over a minute, Co made a three from the top of the key to keep them in striking distance with the score at 35-31. Mapua dominated the remaining minutes of the third quarter by igniting an 8-0 blast for a 53-44 count.

The Golden Stags seized control in the dying seconds when John Raymundo penetrated the middle and fed Bulawan for an easy lay in giving them a 63-62 cushion with 47 seconds to go. Del Rosario made one of two charities off a Ballesteros foul to even the count one last time at 63-all.

Individual scores:

SSC-R (66) – Viray 17, Bulawan 12, Ballesteros 9, Aquino 8, Zulueta 6, Quiamco 5, Saquillo 5, Delgado 2, Najorda 2, Raymundo 0, De Leon 0, Del Rio 0.

MIT (63) – Del Rosario 15, Guillermo 15, Banal 11, Co 11, Dela Peña 7, Pascual 2, Sumalinog 2, Acosta 0, Mazo 0.

Quarter Scores: 15-16; 33-35; 46-53; 66-63




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