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Stags survive Knights in overtime

San Sebastian College guard Ken Villapando made a layup with 18.5 seconds left and lifted the Stags to a102-101 overtime win over the Letran Knights in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.

Villapando’s heroics came after Letran forward Jerrick Balanza missed a jumper – thanks to Allyn Bulanadi who found Villapando open at the right wing for an easy layup.

Letran had a chance to win the game but guard Fran Yu missed a three-point try with time winding down, while Edson Batillier’s jumper fell short of the target as time expired.

The win improved SSC-R’s record to 3-3, while Letran suffered its second straight loss following a setback to bitter rival and defending three-time champion San Beda last Saturday for a 5-3 card.

The victory was extra special for the Stags, as it didn’t just end their three-game skid but more importantly it came despite the absence of coach Egay Macaraya, who served out a one-game suspension.

“This is for coach Egay,” said SSC lead assistant coach Melo Banua, who has been with Macaraya since 2014 after playing for the former Stag with the CEU Scorpions during his college days.

“What coach Egay said before our game is to just stick to the game plan. We’ve ben practicing the past two weeks, even if our games were cancelled we continued with our preparation. It actually game us enough time to prepare for this game,” added Banua.

RK Ilagan scored 22 points to lead the SSC-R, which had three of its games postponed because of bad weather the previous two weeks as the Stags last played June 30 against the College of St. Benilde Blazers.

Bulanadi contributed 21 points while Alvin Capobres added 19 points for SSC-R, which had six players of 13 players fouled out – the last was Ilagan with 3:52 left in the extra period.

“We don’t want to give up, especially on defense. We practice two hours on our defense, so we just applied what we practiced on defense in the five-minute OT,” said Bulanadi.

Center Larry Muyang led Letran with a career-best 32 points, but his performance wasn’t enough to help the Knights get back to the winning track after that 70-66 loss to the Red Lions.

Balanza finished with 21 points, while Yu had 13 points and seven assists.

San Sebastian dictated the game’s tempo for most part of the game, where it converted 32-of-74 (43.24%) shots from the field, while holding Letran to 26-of-71 (36.62%), and the Stags won despite a 57-39 on rebounds in favor of the Knights – 18 courtesy of Muyang. (WAYLON GALVEZ)


SSC-R 102 – Ilagan 22, Bulanadi 21, Capobres 19, Calahat 9, Dela Cruz 9, Calma 7, Villapando 6, Desoyo 4, Cosari 3, Tero 2, Altamirano 0, Sumoda 0, Loristo 0.

LETRAN 101 – Muyang 32, Balanza 21, Yu 13, Caralipio 9, Batiller 7, Ular 6, Olivario 5, Reyson 4, Ambohot 3, Javillonar 1, Mina 0, Sangalang 0, Guarino 0.

Quarters: 28-18; 46-36; 69-64; 91-91; 102-101 OT.