Golden Stags hold-off Blazers

18 07 2007

RE-ENERGIZED San Sebastian College Recoletos Golden Stags took solo third place with a 60-54 win over slumping College of Saint Benilde Blazers last July 19 in the 83rd NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City .

Behind their consistent free throw shooting in critical moments, John Raymundo and guard Jim Viray converted two charities each to withstand the Blazers’ last minute rally en route to the Golden Stags’ 3-2 card.

“We played good defense in the final quarter after a let down in the third,” said San Sebastian coach George Gallent, who rejoined the team after serving a one-game suspension.

Raymundo made two free throws with 20 seconds left for a 58-54 count, then Viray, who paced SSC-R with 16 points, added another two points from the stripe with only six seconds remaining to peg the final count.

“I’m glad I was able to hit two points from the foul line when it mattered most,” said Viray. “We need this win when we battle unbeaten San Beda on Friday.”

The Blazers, who fell to a 1-4 slate after absorbing four straight defeats, clawed back from a 10-point deficit, 46-56, in final period after Paolo Orbeta and Martin Urra combined for a 8-0 blast that narrowed the gap to 54-56 with less than two minutes left. But Saint Benilde failed to connect when they had several chances at crunch time for a costly defeat.

Jimbo Aquino added 11 points, while Juanito Quiamco had 10 for the Golden Stags. Jason Ballesteros collected 14 rebounds and swatted away three Blazer attempts.

Viray drilled in six points in the pivotal final period when the Stags enjoyed a safe six-point edge, 53-47, with only four minutes left in a relatively tight encounter. Their biggest lead of 10 points came early in the first quarter, 30-20. Orbeta and Urra finished with 11 points apiece for the Blazers.

The scores:

First Game

San Sebastian 60 – Viray 16, Aquino 11, Quiamco 10, Bulawan 8, Raymundo 7, Delgaco 4, Najorda 2, dela Cruz 2, Ballesteros 0, Saquillo 0.

St. Benilde 54 – Orbeta 11, Urra M. 11, Layug 7, Porras 7, Johnston 5, Morial 4, Sevilla 3, Cabatu 2, Aldover 2, Cadiz 1, David 1, Robles 0, Manlapaz 0, Urra D. 0.

Quarters: 8-11; 30-20; 43-40; 60-54

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