San Sebastian coach Ague Macaraya, a successful collegiate basketball consultant, had only one wish from his ward: play defense.
He got more than that after an impressive 63-58 win over Stags Perpetual Altas in NCAA Season 97 Men’s Basketball at the Greenhills Gym in La Salle on Friday.
“I always say this team is a very good defensive team. And they have proven it now. Scoring and taking responsibility for them are just a bonus for me, “said the soft-spoken adviser, whose team won the first of two games, in Filipino.
Days later, Mapua won 59-56 from the late-rally of Jose Rizal University (JRU) and joined the early leaders with two wins in many games.
Cardinal captain Warren Bonifacio also slammed two free throws in the final 8.7 seconds, preventing the heavy bombers from returning with a scoring binge in their last game.
Mapua thus joined San Beda and Letran at the top of the standings. JRU fell to 1-1.
The scorer is gone
Macaraya, who lost off-season scorers Alin Bulanadi and RK Ilagan, also weaved some sideline magic for the Stags, who last won a championship 13 seasons ago.
San Sebastian has also mixed a lot of defensive heat to lose those vital scoring cogs – the big guys firing from the fence and the little guys attacking the post.
“We know how [Perpetual standouts Kim] Orin and [Jielo] Razon game. They had a great game against Jose Rizal, “said Macaraya. “That was our focus.”
While they managed to detain Altas gunmen, the limited options of stags in crime proved to be more than adequate, especially with the way it was used. The Stags secured the victory by beating their enemies 19-10 in the fourth quarter.
They hit long-range bombs on the big guys JM Kalma and Rommel Kalaha which gave strength to the assembly. And that, Macaraya said, was by design.
“I also believe that my big men should be hit from the outside,” Macaraya said. “And all my little boys can play the post. We just have to keep the right balance. ”
It threw Perpetual’s highly energetic full-court presses as the Altas caught themselves in the mixup, with their 5-foot-7 guard Joey Barkuma often having to defend against 6-foot-5 Jesse Sumoda at the bottom.
With the win, Stags tied Altas to a consistent 1-1 record.
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